Since December 2009, Arianna and the Move Your Money campaign have been calling on all Americans to divest from 'too big to fail' banks and put our money in community banks and credit unions that are accountable to their customers - us. Now, Democracy for America is joining in the fray and taking it up a notch. DFA has a three tiered campaign: First, DFA members move their money; second, organize state Democratic Parties to pass resolutions to move their money; and, finally, pressure state and local governments to move their money. Many Democrats are railing against Wall Street rhetorically and this is a great way to walk the talk.
Filmmaker Michael Moore said it best: "Move Your Money before some 'too big to fail' bank moves it for you -- into their pockets. If our elected officials won't punish the banks that took our money, here's a way to do it yourself. Starve the big banks."
Just like in 2009, when DFA organized 135 state and local Democratic parties to pass resolutions to support the Public Option for health care, we will activate our grassroots network to reform the party from the ground up by passing resolutions to move their money. However, this time we're not waiting for Congress to deliver. We are going to break up the big banks right now, but divesting our personal and institutional money from corporations that take taxpayer money and waste it on CEO bonuses while kicking regular people out of their homes and hiring an army of lobbyists to stymie financial reform.
But you don't have to take my word for it, look at what the banks are doing. According Chris Frates at the Politco:
The nation's six largest banks and their trade associations have hired more than 240 former government officials-turned-lobbyists to represent them in the fight over Wall Street reform, according to a new report by several progressive groups.
The report cites 243 government insiders turned lobbyists working for the industry. Of those, 202 used to work in Congress, and the rest served in the White House, Treasury Department or government agencies. The list includes 33 former chiefs of staff, 54 former staffers to the House Financial Services Committee or Senate Banking Committee and 28 former legislative directors.
The big banks will spare no expense to strip the financial reform bill of any provisions that will actually make them accountable to their investors and customers, and certainly not the American tax payer.
Their scheme is working. Here's what the New York Times said about it last week:
The financial reform legislation making its way through Congress has Wall Street executives privately relieved that the bill does not do more to fundamentally change how the industry does business.
Despite the outcry from lobbyists and warnings from conservative Republicans that the legislation will choke economic growth, bankers and many analysts think that the bill approved by the Senate last week will reduce Wall Street's profits but leave its size and power largely intact.
In other words, 'too big to fail' banks will still be too big to fail.
Wall Street Corruption doesn't just hurt the stock market, it hurts real people who were told to trust their retirement or child's college savings to the power of the market. Katherine B. from Arkadelphia, Arkansas sent her story to DFA:
"My husband worked 20+ years and lost half of the retirement he had built up. These losses represent actual wages for actual time that was put in by actual people which has in effect been retroactively stolen from them."
Alex C. from Los Angeles, CA wrote:
"I lost more than half my retirement fund from the crash. Now I need to work for another seven years before I will have enough to retire."
Stories like that demonstrate the anger and frustration that people are feeling. That's why it is not surprising that within the first 48 hours of sending our email, DFA members pledged to move more than $85 million of income and are now signing up for action teams to organize state Democratic Parties. And we are just getting started.
Wall Street may own Washington politicians, but they don't own us. It's time to take matters into our own hands. It's time for us to put our money where our mouth is and leave these corrupt banks behind.
It's time to declare our independence from big banks. Join us at BreakUpBigBanks.com.