Thursday, January 17, 2013

Occupy Wall Street Alternative Banking — Letter to US Senate

Dear Senators,

It is now up to you to restore the integrity of the Department of the Treasury.

As the Department’s web site states, Treasury’s job is to:

“Maintain a strong economy and create economic and job opportunities by promoting the conditions that enable growth and stability…protecting the integrity of the financial system, and manage the U.S. Government’s finances and resources effectively.”

President Obama’s nominee, Jacob Lew, does not measure up to the task.

Since the days of the Clinton Administration, the office of the Treasury Secretary has morphed into the custodian of Wall Street interests, allowing fraudulent banking practices to lead us into a recession, paying little or no heed to the concerns of Main Street about economic growth or jobs. Moreover, unlike the George W. Bush presidency where Enron executives were jailed — little has been done since the latest crisis to prosecute the people responsible for the widespread criminality and total disregard of ethics and values in finance.

The new Treasury Secretary should be an individual who looks out for the 99%, not a Timothy Geithner clone who would rather save financial players than enforce the law. We need someone who will focus on the productive economy and jobs. We need someone who will push back against Wall Street, not someone who will do their bidding.

Jacob Lew’s tenure at the original too-big-to-fail bank, Citigroup, has disqualified him. He received a $900,000 bonus from Citi in 2008, essentially paid out of the taxpayer bailout, just before he returned to government. At best this has the “appearance of impropriety”.

As HSBC’s “too big to jail’ settlement shows, the too-big-to-fail problem persists. We need a Treasury Secretary who will work to address this. Despite being near the heart of the storm, or perhaps because he was at Citigroup, Jack Lew shows no recognition that the current structure of the banking system is the heart of the problem. We must block his appointment.

Criminality and greed are embedded in the culture of the financial system and only major reform will get rid of it. Please join us in our efforts to reject Jacob Lew and ask President Obama to nominate someone who can truly live up to the mandate of the U.S. Treasury.


Members of the OWS Alternative Banking Group

Marni Halasa

Josh Snodgrass

Hannah Appel

Linda Brown

Nicholas Levis

Cathy O’Neil

Anchard Scott

Yves Smith

1 comment:

Dan Kervick said...

I signed this. While I trust Jamie Galbraith and his personal assessment of Lew's character, it doesn't matter whether Lew is a "good guy" or a "bad guy". The point is that we need to send the message that the US Treasury Department is not owned by the big banks, and they cannot run it by routinely installing one of their guys in it term after term after term.