“How lucky are you?” Those words were spoken by Ronald Reagan in what is called “The Speech.” He was referring to an American who, hearing the story of a Cuban refugee, said, “‘We don’t know how lucky we are.’ And the Cuban stopped and said, ‘How lucky you are? I had someplace to escape to.’ And in that sentence he told us the entire story. If we lose freedom here, there’s no place to escape to. This is the last stand on earth.”
Our freedom has been threatened by special interests and financial institutions and we really have no place else to go. We have been looked at as the model. Will we give up our votes to special interests, and their money, that buy elections, and lobbyists who write legislation to favor their own greed and bottom line? Will we bail out too-big-to-fail financial institutions - Citigroup, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, who now control 67% of America’s assets - at the expense of taxpayers, our infrastructure, and our people, just for their bottom-line profits? Will we let Americans go bankrupt, have no jobs, no educational opportunity, and let poverty and hopelessness fill our streets while spending trillions of dollars to make sure that those big six banking companies can take risk, huge profits, executive bonuses on the backs of most Americans?
Will we allow them to take money from our Treasury because they are so big they would bring down ours, and the world’s, economic systems, if the bets they made for profits turned sour and we had no other choice? That is what we did. Your elected leaders, past and present, Republicans, Democrats.
And it continues. It continues because elected leaders are beholden to special interests and lobbyists from large financial institutions, healthcare insurance companies, energy, pharmaceuticals, that care more about profits than a common interest in community.
These financial giants take our taxpayer money from the Fed and Treasury at the discount window at 0-1% interest and have the pleasure of loaning it back to credit card holders at up to 29.9%, student loans at 8% and above. Usury. And the moral equivalent of cannabalism on our own middle class.
Small business, capitalistic free enterprise, and the entrepreunurial spirit built America in the 20th Century. But by the Depression, we realized that we had to have some rules, that unbridled capitalism was not working. So we made laws about corporate monopolies, price fixing, regulating Wall Street, making sure commercial banks could not act like investment houses and leverage risk.
This was overturned from the Reagan era onward by both parties and the special interests that fuel them.
Our heritage of our natural resources, our talent of labor, our community resources, education, and infrastructure of highways, bridges, waterways, commerce, and education are all pools of our community. Small businesses thrive and grow and use these resources and give back by jobs, taxes, and community involvement. But that is not where these giants go. They rob our resources for their bottom line, rape and pillage, export jobs and tax advantages, and then leave us cold with the toxic waste of their own excesses—for us to swallow, digest, and excrete in our own demise.
As the Cuban refugee said to Reagan, “We have nowhere else to go”. This is our country. We are the people. We are the majority. We are here, we are across America, we are Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Liberal, Union, non-union, mothers, fathers, children, grandchildren, old, young, gay and lesbian, educated in colleges, educated in the streets. And we have something in common: We love this country and have no place to go. This is us!
Each protestor has a story. Wear that story when you’re demonstrating. Wear your uniforms, carry your diplomas, hold your wrenches, straighten your tie, bring your children. This is us!!!
The most important thing you can do today, to vote by your dollars, is move your savings, checking and investment accounts from the big banking institutions – Citigroup, JP Morgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Goldman – and into your local and regional banks and local investment consultants. That will have a huge impact and wake them up to your power, as well as increase assets for local lending.
My suggestion is that we:
1. Support a Constitutional Amendment according to Article V of the Constitution, to ban campaign contributions by corporations, PACs and individuals of more than a determined amount in order to rectify the Roberts Supreme Court decision allowing the auctioning of our leaders to special interests.
2. Demand that the Justice Dept. and Obama’s attorney general, Eric Holder, investigate fraud by financial institutions in the writing, bundling, and rating of mortgages that got the world into this mess; hold them accountable by criminal charges and seek reparations to be put back in the Treasury.
3. That the Federal Reserve and Treasury give full disclosure of the amounts and recipients of the roughly trillions of dollars doled out by Congressional bailout funds, Treasury discount window, or Fed actions.
4. The release and transparency of contributions to all federally elected officials by corporations, PACS, and individuals.
These demands can lead us to answers to what happened to our money. From there we can figure out what we have to do to reclaim this land, our Treasury, and our heritage as Americans.
It ain’t the end. We have just begun. But it’s a start. And we have no place else to go.