Occupy vigilantes write new Volcker Rule script

Susan Antilla writes: It isn’t every day that a reporter gets to sit in on a high-stakes policy meeting in New York’s financial district, but that’s exactly what I did on a balmy evening in late February at 60 Wall Street, the U.S. headquarters of Deutsche Bank AG.

No, the bank didn’t lose its institutional marbles and give me clearance to scribble notes while its cognoscenti mapped out corporate strategy. The confab I dropped in on was taking place under potted palm trees in the bank’s ground-floor public atrium, and the participants were 13 members of Occupy the SEC, a spinoff group of the Occupy Wall Street movement. I can’t help but conclude that their plans for petitions, marches, op-eds and sit-down meetings with banking regulators will be inflicting Wall Street with a long, nasty attack of agita.

Occupy Wall Street and its working groups, including Occupy the SEC, were supposed to be dead, in case you missed the obituaries. Now the protesters are messing with detractors’ heads with the emergence of a media-savvy collection of legal, banking and activist members who come off as sane and authoritative. This is not the way the Occupy bashers’ “welfare-bum hippies” propaganda script was supposed to play out.

On Feb. 13, seven writers who described themselves as “concerned citizens, activists and financial professionals” filed a 325-page comment letter to financial regulators, outlining their concerns about loopholes in the “Let’s Try to Avoid the Next Financial Crisis” proposal known as the Volcker rule.

It was among the longest and most detailed of 16,000 letters sent to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Reserve Board, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency during the public-comment period.

We may call it a “public” comment period, but in the real world it is deep-pocketed business interests, not Mom and Pop, who usually have the juice to persuade officials to amend financial regulations. It’s no surprise that Wall Street has been working furiously to dilute the rule’s restrictions on how banks trade and what investments they can own, and the industry has a heap of comment letters on the Volcker rule to show for it.

This time, though, there is a noisy voice plugging for the little guy, and it carries weight that these rabble-rousers understand the banking industry from the inside.

Or, as Occupy the SEC member Alexis Goldstein — who has worked at Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank — explained the group’s line-by-line analysis of the Volcker Rule to me: “We’d say ‘OK, I’m a bank, so how am I gonna get around this rule?’”

Even veteran activists who advocate regularly for the public were wowed. “They understood the nonsense in the proposed rule,” said Bartlett Naylor, financial policy counsel at Public Citizen’s Congress Watch. Public Citizen, which also wrote a Volcker comment letter, was “humbled” by the Occupy effort, Naylor said. [Continue reading...]

Print Friendly
facebooktwittermail

Comments

  1. John just a swimmer says:

    Best news I’ve read in years: “This time, though, there is a noisy voice plugging for the little guy, and it carries weight that these rabble-rousers understand the banking industry from the inside.”

    Romney like most, if not all of the candidates cannot relate nor represent the 99% of Americans. Millionaires and billionaires should be barred from politics since they only represent and relate to the rich.

    Could I be wrong?
    Is there a billionaire that would relate and represent the 99% of Americans?
    Probably not Bill Gates.

    I suggest that a similar group of rabble rousers understanding the American political industry be formed and determine the best presidential candidate(s) down to those candidates running in local elections that will best represent and relate to the 99% of Americans.

    The millionaires, billionaires and corporations MUST be forced to help America recover from the financial crises that they created through corruption, greed and/or ignorance.

    From 1945 to 1986, America experienced its greatest real growth in history with the highest taxes on corporations, the rich(over $20,000 in 1945) and on millionaires and billionaires.

    Right after WWII, “1945: 94% tax on income over $200,000 – absolutely astounding. It stayed over 90% until 1964 when it was lowered to 77% and had been consistently falling until …”

    “––$200,000 in 1944 is the equivalent of $2,290,909.09 in 2006 according to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator).”

    See: bargaineering.com/articles/a-look-at-historical-federal-tax-brackets.html Add www.

    Partial Solutions to Financial Crises

    1. New Total Taxes (federal, state, luxury, etc)
    for millionaires, billionaires: 40% to 80%
    for corporations: 35% to 55%

    2. Nationalize the Federal Reserve, a PRIVATE CORPORATION whose main goal is making its secret owners and share holders rich. It loans billions of dollars to the US government and charges 6% interest which keeps America in debt, now at 15 trillion. Most Americans believe that the Federal Reserve is a US government agency.

    Nationalize the corrupt financial empire including banks and wall street. Sounds crazy but America needs intelligent crazy changes, not more bull from the millionaires, billionaires.

    For a history of money and the Federal Reserve watch award winning documentary,
    “The Secret of Oz” at http://www.documentarywire.com/the-secret-of-oz
    A must watch video for all Occupy Movements!

    3. Stop the out of control, exponential growth of the Military-Industrial-Complex.
    Over 1,000 US foreign military bases costing 1 trillion dollars annually.
    The world is to share costs, manning, equipment and control of a new strong UN
    military force.

    In Afghanistan: “450 Bases and It’s Not Over Yet”
    “The Pentagon’s Afghan Basing Plans for Prisons, Drones, and Black Ops, By Nick Turse” tomdispatch.com/archive/175501/ Add www.

    4. Phase out, vote out the GOP.
    “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”
    “The inside story of how the Republicans abandoned the poor and the middle class
    to pursue their relentless agenda of tax cuts for the wealthiest one percent.”

    rollingstone.com/politics/news/how-the-gop-became-the-party-of-the-rich-20111109 Add www.

    enough.

    Excuse and correct any errors. I’m politically ignorant and did my best.