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Workers, Not Wall Street, Deserve A Hand Up


Wall Street is booming, and the profits are flowing to the top one percent. But rich financers don’t like rules that limit their bottom lines, even when they protect the rest of us from greed run amok. So they’ve decided to get their lawmakers on it.

House leaders were only too happy to oblige, powering through a bill this week easing some regulations put in place in the wake of the Great Recession. It was a bipartisan effort, as 29 Democrats joined Republicans in siding with Wall Street.

The changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law would lessen rules placed on derivatives; exempt some private equity firms from registering with the Securities Exchange Commission; and delay a mandate that financial firms sell off bundled debt, among other things. Taken together, it is a significant step back from the reforms enacted after the nation’s worst economic meltdown in 75 years – a meltdown caused by risky banking schemes.

“The Wall Street giveaway passed chips away at the Volcker Rule, a critical part of the Wall Street reform law that protects Americans against the risky practices of some on Wall Street that just a few years ago brought our country to the brink of economic collapse,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said.  “Enough is enough: the interests of big banks should not trump those of American families that still struggle to make ends meet.”

The House vote was just the latest example of campaign cash taking precedence over common sense on Capitol Hill. At a time when income inequality is growing and the middle class is struggling, elected officials should not be focusing on making things easier for Wall Street. The people’s problems are the ones that need attention!

While Wall Street continues its record rise, workers are left out of the party. Big business across-the-board is hindering the economy. The median wage today is lower than where it was before the last economic collapse, even though unemployment is now at an eight-year low. As Robert Reich pointed out his week, “workers are less economically secure than workers have been since World War II. Nearly one out of every five is in a part-time job. Insecure workers don’t demand higher wages when unemployment drops. They’re grateful simply to have a job.”

Once again, Washington is more interested in helping billionaires than working families. Too many lawmakers are focused on making things easier for the banking industry, which brought the U.S. to its knees less than seven years ago. Lawmakers need to be extending a hand to working families.