GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, firstname.lastname@example.org
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, email@example.com
Greens blame bipartisan failure to recognize Enron-style abuses, SEC and Federal Reserve Board indulgence of banks and lending institutions for the crisis: cozy relationship between Democratic and Republican politicians with industry has betrayed US homeowners; seniors, African Americans, and Latinos were special targets for lending deception
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders and candidates warned that the election of Democrats and Republicans to Congress and the White House will do little to stem the financial meltdown touched off by the subprime mortgage crisis.
The party called the crisis evidence of the failure of deregulation and corporate-friendly lending and housing policies. Greens urged a far-reaching overhaul of economic policy to meet the needs of the American people, with an emphasis on accountability, close regulation of financial institutions, and rethinking the status of corporations and their power over democratic government.
"Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain are too cozy with Wall Street and major financial institutions to take real action against abuses by banking and credit industries," said Carol Brouillet, Green candidate for Congress in California's District 14 (http://www.carolforcongress.org). "The subprime mortgage crisis is the result of Enron-style corporate practices, policies that impose debt on working Americans, false inducements made to borrowers, and CEO recklessness, ignored by the SEC and by Democratic and Republican officeholders until too late."
"Borrowers are taking the blame for the bursting of the housing bubble and for the high default rates on subprime and other adjustable rate mortgages. In fact, the collapse was caused by billions of dollars of home loans offered to people with poor credit history or low income after misleading promises by lending institutions and banks who believed that the SEC, federal regulators, and Democratic and Republican members of Congress would never hold them accountable," added Ms. Brouillet, who authored "The Difference Between Money and Real Wealth: Creating Community Currencies" (http://www.communitycurrency.org). "Americans are losing their homes while the CEOs of companies like Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, and Countrywide get multimillion-dollar compensation packages. Families are now watching their savings disappear, while the federal government spends billions to bail out the fatcats, with a taxpayer-funded $200 billion loan to selected banks made by Federal Reserve Board chair Ben Bernanke."
Greens said that skyrocketing real estate prices were not the sign of a healthy industry, but of deceptive reports filed with the SEC, disregard for the financial stability of working Americans, and false assurances of a stable housing market by Mr. Bernanke.
Greens also noted that older Americans, African Americans, and Latino borrowers were especially targeted by predatory lenders. 73% of high-income African Americans and Latinos were steered into subprime loans, compared to 17% of white borrowers in the same income brackets.
"Among the hardest hit are African Americans and Latinos, many of them first-time homeowners. The equity enjoyed by white homeowners was denied to black people during the second half of the 20th century as a result of historical redlining by the Federal Housing Administration. The current crisis is a betrayal of recent promises to African Americans and Latinos of home ownership and financial stability," said John Wages, candidate for the US House in Mississippi's 1st District (http://www.votejohnwages.com).
Green Party activists compared these policies with predatory and exploitative speculation at the local level, which has led to gentrification and the purge of middle- and low-income people from neighborhoods across the US.
The Green Party, which takes no corporate contributions, supports far-reaching reforms to ensure financial stability for working Americans, such as the chartering of community development banks, which would be capitalized with public funds and would work to meet the credit needs of local communities, including low-risk assistance for home owners (http://www.gp.org/platform/2004/economics.html#249123). The New Broom Coalition (http://www.newbroomcoalition.org), which includes a number of Greens running for Congress, has called for a five-year moratorium on foreclosures.
Green leaders noted that Penny Pritzker, a member of one of America's wealthiest financial dynasties, is Finance Chair for Obama campaign. Ms. Pritzker is former board chair of Superior Bank of Chicago, which collapsed in 2001 with over $1 billion in insured and uninsured deposits, costing over 1,400 people their life savings. Her brother, J.B. Pritzker is the head of a 'grassroots' organization called Citizens for Hillary Clinton.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the combined Finance/Insurance/Real Estate contributions to Democrats surpassed those given to Republicans in 2008: http://opensecrets.org/industries/indus.asp?Ind=F http://opensecrets.org/pres08/sectorall.asp?cycle=2008
"The SEC, under the Clinton and Bush administrations, failed in its mission to protect the public, and instead indulged lending institutions and Wall Street, allowing them to manipulate the mortgage industry for fast profits and skyrocketing executive paychecks while wages for working people remain inadequate. The influence of major players like the Pritzkers guarantee that, whether Ms. Clinton, Mr. Obama, or Mr. McCain win the White House, we'll see only superficial remedies and reforms. What we really need is investigation and prosecution, elimination of corporate personhood, and corporate power replaced by a system based on the housing needs of the American people," said Rodger Jennings, Green candidate for Congress, 12th District in Illinois (http://www.rodgerjennings.org).
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Predatory Lending: Redlining in Reverse By Gregory D. Squires, Shelterforce (National Housing Institute), Issue #139, January/February 2005
Subprime Lendingâ€™s Smartest Guys in the Room
By Nomi Prins, Mother Jones, March 9, 2008