FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

How the Big Banks Can Be Beaten

When the 2008 financial crash slammed the New York City construction industry, Maribel Touré’s husband lost his job as an architect. On top of that, Maribel suffered a serious accident.

But what really plunged the family into financial trouble was sending their daughter to college.

As a child growing up in Mexico, Maribel’s father had repeatedly told her that la educación es la clave — “education is the key.” So she worked hard to obtain a college degree in Mexico and then moved to the United States, where she became a radiology technician.

Maribel wanted the same opportunity for her daughter to obtain “the key.” But high tuition bills strained the family budget and pushed them to the brink of foreclosure.

“The government was helping the banks, but they refused to help me,” Maribel said recently. “I never stopped working and I never stopped paying my taxes — the same taxes the government was giving to the banks.”

Maribel is just one of many Americans who were hurt by the financial crisis and want more done to crack down on the Wall Street greed and recklessness that caused it. That’s why she’s added her support to a new Take on Wall Street campaign that aims to channel widespread public anger over our broken financial system into concrete, bold change.

The campaign’s priority reforms would help ensure that Wall Street pays its fair share of taxes. The additional revenue could be used for urgent needs, such as making college more affordable for families like the Tourés.

A small tax of just a fraction of a percent on each stock and derivative trade, for example, could generate massive revenue while also curbing short-term speculation. For ordinary investors, such a tax would be hardly noticeable. The real targets would be the high-speed traders who now dominate our financial markets while adding no real value to the economy.

Closing tax loopholes that now encourage excessive executive pay could also generate much-needed funds for social programs or public investment to fix our crumbling national roads and bridges.

One of these loopholes lets private equity and hedge fund managers pay a 20 percent capital gains rate on the bulk of their income — just half of the nearly 40 percent top rate the wealthiest Americans normally owe. As a result, billionaire financiers pay a lower tax rate than millions of our country’s teachers, firefighters, and nurses.

Maribel Touré ended her story on a hopeful note. She said that after feeling guilty and ashamed about her financial problems for a long time, she decided to fight back.

She joined New York Communities for Change, a coalition of working families in low- and moderate-income communities that fights for social and economic justice. They worked with local officials to put pressure on her bank, so she was able to modify her mortgage loan in time to save her house.

Her story, she said, shows that if we join together, we can win against Wall Street.

This column is distributed by Other Words.

More articles by:

Sarah Anderson directs the Global Economy Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

September 25, 2018
Kenneth Surin
Fact-Finding Labour’s “Anti-Semitism” Crisis
Charles Pierson
Destroying Yemen as Humanely as Possible
James Rothenberg
Why Not Socialism?
Patrick Cockburn
How Putin Came Out on Top in Syria
John Grant
“Awesome Uncontrollable Male Passion” Meets Its Match
Guy Horton
Burma: Complicity With Evil?
Steve Stallone
Jujitsu Comms
William Blum
Bombing Libya: the Origins of Europe’s Immigration Crisis
John Feffer
There’s a New Crash Coming
Martha Pskowski
“The Emergency Isn’t Over”: the Homeless Commemorate a Year Since the Mexico City Earthquake
Fred Baumgarten
Ten Ways of Looking at Civility
Dean Baker
The Great Financial Crisis: Bernanke and the Bubble
Binoy Kampmark
Parasitic and Irrelevant: The University Vice Chancellor
September 24, 2018
Jonathan Cook
Hiding in Plain Sight: Why We Cannot See the System Destroying Us
Gary Leupp
All the Good News (Ignored by the Trump-Obsessed Media)
Robert Fisk
I Don’t See How a Palestinian State Can Ever Happen
Barry Brown
Pot as Political Speech
Lara Merling
Puerto Rico’s Colonial Legacy and Its Continuing Economic Troubles
Patrick Cockburn
Iraq’s Prime Ministers Come and Go, But the Stalemate Remains
William Blum
The New Iraq WMD: Russian Interference in US Elections
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Snoopers’ Charter Has Been Dealt a Serious Blow
Joseph Matten
Why Did Global Economic Performance Deteriorate in the 1970s?
Zhivko Illeieff
The Millennial Label: Distinguishing Facts from Fiction
Thomas Hon Wing Polin – Gerry Brown
Xinjiang : The New Great Game
Binoy Kampmark
Casting Kavanaugh: The Trump Supreme Court Drama
Max Wilbert
Blue Angels: the Naked Face of Empire
Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will There Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail