Teachers Educate Chase Bank

I went down to Westlake and joined Occupy Seattle‘s Robin Hood Tax protest yesterday. I got a good education on Chase Bank‘s corporate greed from Seattle’s school teachers.

Teachers Give Chase a Lesson

It turns out Chase hasn’t been paying any state tax on mortgage interest income, thanks to a loophole created for Washington Mutual as an in-state bank. Chase is based in Manhattan, so how did they get to keep that loophole when they bought WAMU for pennies for a dollar? According to the Social Equality Educators website: “Their fair share would add nearly $100 million per year to our State’s sorely strapped budget.”  Closing loopholes for out-of-state banks sounds like a good place to start to turn around our grim budget our Governor proposed to us Thursday, instead of cutting education, health and social services.

I, ironically, missed the largest march so far, the previous Saturday, catching up on other things, and having been to the march the Saturday before that.  I want to mention that because if, like me, you missed that one, it might seem like energy is waning.

Here’s a video from their march through Pike Place Market:

They were protesting Chase then as well. Following Governor Gregoire’s draconian proposals for our state budget, even though she and other Democrats say they don’t want to do it; I think we need to push them and the Republicans, who are all too willing to cut social services, health and education, on why we’re giving an out-of-state bank a free ride. Its time to end corporate welfare, and they are the ones who should be shamed, not the people who end up out of work or underemployed, just struggling to get by for themselves and their families.

Ironically, Chase even profits on that:

Chase Profits for Food Stamps

Why does Washington, and other states, pay to have their food stamp cards run through Chase bank? Why not have them through a credit union, say for Washington, WSECU, the Washington State Employees Credit Union? Why, in fact, is there apparently a state law that limits cities like Seattle to using only the largest banks, according to the city budget director interviewed in The Stranger, in response to Nick Licata’s proposed resolution for the city to review its banking and investment practices?

OK, I’m off on a tangent. Back to this Saturday’s rally, which was about a proposal to pass a version of the Robin Hood Tax, an idea that originated in England. What Adbusters proposed is taxing 1% of financial transactions and currency trades.

Sounds like a good idea to me. Sadly, the money has been going in the other direction, with the public bailing out the poor bankers, who apparently can’t manage their money properly. Shouldn’t we have some case managers if we’re going to have corporate welfare?

How much corporate welfare? Just for starters, the results first Federal Reserve audit, which happened thanks to an amendment added to the Wall Street reform law by Senator Bernie Sanders (VT):

The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

$16 trillion – that’s a lot of money, and with some of that (plus interest – it’s a loan, right?) would do a lot towards balancing the budget and we might not need to take a Credo action to tell Congress not to use Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security as bargaining chips.

 “As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,” said Sanders. “This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you’re-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.”

Not to mention the conflicts of interest that the Federal Reserve routinely gives waivers for:

For example, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed’s board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed.  Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed’s emergency lending programs.

Would that be the CEO of Chase who is coming here to Seattle, and Occupy Seattle is planning to protest, starting at 5:30 pm Wednesday? Seems like we have a lot to talk about. . .


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