The past four years have been some of the most economically troubled times many adult Americans have ever seen. Millions of families are still struggling to survive, to rebuild their lives and savings accounts after the recent mortgage crisis. A crisis that could have been avoided if banks and other financial institutions were required to be honest and transparent.
Despite the incredible burden placed upon American taxpayers by the fraudulent behavior of Big Banks and credit card companies, the nation’s top six banks have been living large, completely oblivious to the suffering they caused.
Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs — paid out $144 billion in bonuses and compensation for 2011, second only to the record $147 billion they paid out in 2007 at the height of the economic boom, according to a report released today by The New Bottom Line. Four banks – Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, and Morgan Stanley – were awarded these bonuses despite their bleak stock performance during the year.
These near-record bonuses come amidst the news that a settlement between Wall Street banks and a group of states Attorneys General could happen as early as today. While the big banks continue to profit off the losses of the 99%, this potential sweetheart deal could let the banks off the hook for their crimes and only pay a small drop in the bucket.
This is wrong.
Name one other instance in which a criminal, found guilty of brazen theft and deceit, would be allowed to craft their own deal with the courts? A deal that would require them to bear almost no responsibility for what they’ve done to millions of Americans, no less. The courts would never allow it. Yet because of the immense financial and political clout held by the Big Banks, they’re poised to do exactly that.
“Big banks can crash the economy, take billions of dollars in tax-payer funded bailouts, award themselves more than $140 billion in bonuses and compensation, but can’t afford the necessary principal reduction that would help millions of homeowner?” said Tracy Van Slyke, co-director of The New Bottom Line. “The settlement in its current form is a settlement for the one percent. President Obama must stand with the 99 percent and take the bold and necessary action to hold Wall Street and the big banks accountable. “
Take a few minutes to browse the report titled, “Pulling Back The Curtain.” It details how, instead of going to bonuses and compensation, Big Bank bonus money could be used to rebuild the economy decimated by the Wall Street banks during the mortgage crisis.
- Just half of the banks’ bonus and compensation pools would be enough to write down the principals on all underwater mortgages in the country.
- If the six banks took half of their bonus and compensation pool and put it directly into a public service jobs fund, they could create 1.8 million jobs, and still have enough money left over to pay the average employee $60,605.
- Just 72% of the $144 billion in bonuses and compensation at the top six banks would have been enough money to plug the $102.9 billion in budget holes for all 50 states for the current fiscal year.
The time of backroom deals lubricated by millions of dollars in campaign donations and propaganda needs to end. It’s time to stand up and demand that Big Banks be held to the same standards of honesty as the rest of us. And if they’ve committed a crime, they need to pay the price.
Time is of the essence, as this deal could be sealed at any moment. Tell President Obama he must launch a full-scale investigation into Wall Street crime that led to the financial collapse and the housing crisis. Take action by calling the White House at (202) 456-1111 right now.
Here’s what you can say when you call:
“Hi, my name is [NAME], and I am calling from [STATE].
I’m calling to ask President Obama to stand up for homeowners and hold Wall Street accountable. We need a full-scale investigation into the big banks and Wall Street, and criminal prosecution for bank executives. Furthermore, any settlement with big banks must include at least $300 billion worth of principal reduction for underwater homeowners.”
Image Credit: National People’s Action