Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Republicans Love Wall-Street ! Main Street is Not Needed !

GOP Blocks Wall St. Reform Bill
By Alexander Bolton and Silla Brush - 04/26/10

Senate Republicans held ranks on Monday and blocked a Democratic effort to overhaul the financial system and crack down on Wall Street.
In a 57-41 vote, Democrats fell short of the 60 votes necessary to proceed to the Wall Street bill. One Senate Democrat, Ben Nelson (upper left)(Neb.), joined Republicans in voting against the motion. Nelson had reportedly been pushing for a provision backed by Warren Buffett that would have largely exempted existing derivatives contracts from the bill’s new rules. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) immediately moved to intensify the pressure on Republicans by scheduling additional procedural votes on Tuesday and Wednesday that would open debate on the financial reform bill. President Barack Obama issued a statement to express his “deep disappointment” that Republicans had blocked opening debate on the measure as other Democrats in the House and Senate rushed to put out statements charging the GOP with holding up the bill. Reid will have the Senate vote on a motion to reconsider the measure Tuesday and also set up a new vote on a motion to proceed to the bill for Wednesday. Democrats believe the series of votes will give them political ammunition against the GOP even as they continue negotiations on the issue with Republicans. Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he would meet again with his Republican counterpart after the vote to discuss a possible compromise. Republicans framed their votes as a call for Democrats to work with them on bipartisan legislation and said their opposition would not prevent them from pursing a compromise bill. “My vote is not a vote against financial reform; instead it’s a vote to insist that the parties continue bi-partisan negotiations to come up with a commonsense bill we can all be proud of,” Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) said in a statement. The Monday vote came on the eve of one of the highest-profile congressional hearings into the crisis, in which the most storied Wall Street bank is set for a grilling about practices that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) said amounted to fraud. Senators are set to question Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and firm employee Fabrice Tourre about SEC charges that the firm defrauded investors on investments tied to the housing market. Dodd said last week that he would continue to negotiate with Republicans even if they blocked an effort to bring his bill to the floor. Sen. Richard Shelby (Ala.), the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, said he would like to reach an agreement this week or next. “I don’t want to unduly delay anything,” he said before Monday’s vote. Both members say they are making progress, but the parties remain split on major elements, such as the scope of a new consumer protection office, the power to dissolve a failing financial firm and new regulations on the multitrillion-dollar derivatives market. Republican aides said Dodd and Shelby were in close talks on a proposal, known as the “Volcker rule,” to limit the power of big banks. They were also discussing how much power the federal government should have to pre-empt state rules on consumer protection. Centrist Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) have suggested spending three or four weeks on crafting a bipartisan compromise. But Democrats, who are eager to move forward on other issues, say enough time has been spent negotiating the financial regulatory bill. The failure to begin debate raises questions over what the Senate will do on the floor this week. It could take up the Food Safety Modernization Act, but a senior Democratic aide said Reid wants to focus on Wall Street reform document. Democrats seized on the vote to portray Republicans as standing up for Wall Street banks that helped push the economy into the worst recession since the Great Depression. “A party that stands with Wall Street is a party that stands against families and against fairness,” Reid said Monday. Seeking protection from Democratic attacks, Senate Republicans said Monday that they have worked on an alternate Wall Street reform bill but offered few details other than to say it would address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Democrats say the government-sponsored mortgage entities, which share blame for fueling the housing bubble, should be reformed in separate legislation. The legislation would respond to the concerns of some centrist Republicans who have argued in private meetings that the party should be able to propose its own solutions if it blocks the Democratic proposal. But few lawmakers were aware of the effort to draft an alternative, giving it the appearance of a last-minute scramble for political cover.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (upper right)(Ky.) said Democratic leaders were trying to stampede his fellow Republicans into supporting bad policy.
“Republicans are also acutely aware of the fact that government solutions to big, complex problems like this one are rarely as effective as they’re made out to be, especially when they’re rushed,” McConnell said. He declared that Republican concerns about economic stimulus and healthcare reform legislation have since been vindicated by public opinion and told Democrats to slow down.
“Americans have been rushed by this Congress before,” he said. “They’ve seen the results. They’re not going to be rushed again.” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs predicted Monday that Republicans would have trouble holding a unified front against Wall Street reform, which polls show has broad public support. A Washington Post/ABC News poll published Monday showed that almost two-thirds of the public supported stronger regulation of financial institutions. The survey also found that 52 percent trust Obama more than GOP lawmakers to regulate Wall Street. In a preview of the Goldman Sachs hearing, Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), chairman of the panel, accused the bank of misleading the country and spreading “poison” throughout the national economy. Levin said the bank sold securities it knew were backed by dubious mortgages and then bet heavily against the investments, earning an estimated $3.7 billion off these short bets.

Jay Heflin contributed to this article.
Editorial : Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker (R`s) Tennessee were among those who towed the line for McConnell ! Better wake up Tennessee !

Hey Senior`s ~ Your Fate is Being Decided Behind closed Doors

Social $ecurity and Seniors !
Seniors Need to Follow This ! Hey That`s Me !

This morning a new Federal commission is meeting for the first time, and it could determine the future of Social Security. The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform is a bi-partisan group charged with recommending ways to lower the federal debt. No retiree likes debt, but we should be worried because some are urging the panel to cut Social Security to reduce the budget deficit. Unfortunately this new Commission is making it hard for us to follow its work. It plans to hold most of its meetings outside of the public eye, behind closed doors in the U.S. Capitol. Click http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/open_gov to tell your elected officials that this Commission's deliberations - and the future of Social Security - are too important to be kept secret. The meetings should be open to the public, and there should be hearings across the country to listen to the American people. Social Security is one of our nation's greatest success stories, and there is no reason to hide it away. Act today to send these meetings out into the sunshine, so everyone can see firsthand just how important Social Security is to Americans of all ages. Click on link above or on the Title of this article !

Monday, April 26, 2010

Big Banks ~ Too Big ? You Bet`cha !

Big Banks Need Regulating !

America's four largest banks - Citibank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, and WellsFargo - have assets of $7.4 trillion, equal to 52% of our entire GDP.The collapse of any one would endanger the American economy, even the world economy. They are truly "too big to fail." They also have too much economic and political power because of their enormous size. Tell Congress: Break Up the Big Banks Now http://www.democrats.com/break-up-the-banks-now
Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Ted Kaufman (D-DE) introduced a bold bill - the SAFE Banking Act (S. 3241) - to break up the big Wall Street banks. This may be the biggest reform of Wall Street and corporate power in 80 years.
According to the New York Times, "The [SAFE Banking Act] would reinforce a 1994 law that bars any single bank from holding more than 10% of the nation’s total deposits, or about $750 billion. In the years since then, large firms have obtained waivers or used loopholes in the law to exceed that ceiling." It would also limit total bank borrowing to 2% of GDP.
Tell Congress: Break Up the Big Banks Now :
http://www.democrats.com/break-up-the-banks-now The bill has broad progressive support, including Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Chris Hayes of The Nation, Prof. Lawrence Lessig, Heather Booth of Americans for Financial Reform, Adam Quinn of Credo, David Arkush of Public Citizen, and Jan Frel of Alternet. In addition, three Federal Reserve bank presidents – James Bullard, president and chief executive of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis’ Kansas City Fed President Thomas M. Hoenig, and Dallas Fed President Richard W. Fisher – all support breaking up too-big-to-fail banks.
Tell Congress: Break Up the Big Banks Now

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Republican Senators Unite Behind Big Money !

Senator Mitchell McConnell (R) Kentucky...Represents Big Money !

Last week, Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell got all 41 GOP senators to promise to oppose Wall Street reform. He thought President Obama would back down in the face of a unified show of force. He was wrong. Instead, the President stood in front of Wall Street bankers Thursday, going to bat for consumers and confronting the toughest of crowds with a strong message: Reform is good for Americans, good for the market, and it's time to get on board. Bipartisan discussions have begun again -- but Wall Street lobbyists are still swarming Capitol Hill, trying to trip up negotiations and maintain the gridlock that has defined Washington for far too long. So now, it's up to us. We need to show Republican senators that the American people are watching closely to see whose side they end up on. Tell Republicans in the Senate to stand up to the special interests and work with the President to pass Wall Street reform.
The President laid out a bold plan to hold Wall Street accountable, to protect American taxpayers by ensuring they'll never again be asked to bail out a big firm "too big to fail," and to put in place the strongest consumer financial protections ever proposed.But this fight isn't just about fixing Wall Street. It's also about fixing Washington. For too long, it's been a place where special interests have set the rules and petty partisanship has stood in the way of progress. As the President said Thursday, "We can and must put this kind of cynical politics aside."Thanks to strong leadership from the President and Democrats in Congress, the gridlock is starting to crack, and Republicans are slowly giving signs that they'll come on board. The Senate has even scheduled a preliminary vote for Monday at 5:15 p.m.But Wall Street lobbyists are flooding in to firm up opposition -- trying to carve out loopholes and exemptions for big banks and lenders who have long exploited consumers.The only sure-fire way to make sure that the special interests don't get their way is to show Senate Republicans that Americans are standing firmly with the President. Tell them to join us to fight for American families who are counting on reform, not the big Wall Street banks. Send a letter today: Click on this link or the title of this article : http://my.barackobama.com/WallStreetReformLetters

Thursday, April 22, 2010

President Obama ~ Wall-Street & Bank Reform !

Reform for Wall Street & Banks ? You Bet`cha !
by Don Jones...4/22/10

I listened to our President on television, asking for our elected officials to reform Wall-Street and our Banks,that are to big to fail ? He sounded rational and reasonable. I agree with him, these institutions need to be reformed. It seems that our Banks have become little more than loan sharking institutions. Wall-Street a huge casino. I do not believe that this should happen or allowed to happen. President Franklin D. Roosevelt had this same problem as does President Obama ! History does repeat itself. Banks do not respect us and are raising their interest rates, fees, and charges all they can, not all they need, before more stringent regulations kick in early 2010. Perhaps we all should join Credit Unions since they can only raise Credit Card interest to 18% ? Have you ever thought about keeping your money in a coffee can and bury it in the backyard ? These days it seems like a pretty good idea ? I have a passbook savings account at a local bank, so I can put money in or take it out, when I want too. I noticed the other day it was paying a whopping 0.30% interest ! Not too good ! I hope and pray that our politicians will help aid and assist our President to reform our Banks and Wall-Street ? I`m also hoping that our next reform will be our Trade policy`s! "God Bless America"!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Healthcare rReform - Just the Facts !

Facts About Health Care Reform
by Mike Hall, Apr 1, 2010

Yesterday, we found out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is set to spend $50 million in this fall’s election to (take your pick): 1. attack; 2. bend the truth; or 3. down right lie about the new health care reform law that President Obama put the finishing touches on Tuesday. The Wall Street Journal describes the Chamber’s efforts as “an aggressive strategy to blunt the impact of the new law.”

BTW, Christina Bellantoni on TPM yesterday noted:
The new push for the 2010 midterm elections adds to a more than $144 million ad campaign the Chamber mounted on behalf of its business membership in the last year against passage of the measure. Before you’re innundated with ads claiming health care reform will destroy the economy, the nation and world as we know it, here are a few of health care reform’s many benefits for working families. (Check out the video of Washington State working families celebrating the new law.)
Two important facts,

first: If you have employer-sponsored health care coverage won at the bargaining table, you’ll keep it. Second, the tax on health care benefits in high-cost plans has been reduced by 85 percent and delayed until 2018. In addition, the new law:

•Ends insurance companies’ most abusive practices, including denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions, beginning in 2014 for adults, and this September for children. The insurance industry already tried to weasel out of covering sick kids, but that sleazy maneuver came to a quick end.

•Eliminates annual and lifetime limits on benefits and ends discriminatory premiums for women and requires government review of excessive rate increases.

•Lowers health care costs for working families by creating new health insurance exchanges to increase competition and provides tax credits and cost-sharing assistance for middle- and lower-income families to purchase insurance.

•Helps seniors purchase prescription drugs, closes the Medicare prescription drug “donut hole” and ensures seniors get free preventive care under Medicare.
Click here for more information on the new health care reform and check back next week when we take a look at some health care reform facts vs. fiction.