Green Party leaders: Economic recovery plans from Obama and Congress favor giant corporate lenders, Wall Street firms, and insurance companies over the needs of Americans
GREEN PARTY OF THE UNITED STATES
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Scott McLarty, Media Coordinator, 202-518-5624, cell 202-904-7614, email@example.com
Starlene Rankin, Media Coordinator, 916-995-3805, firstname.lastname@example.org
The White House bid to seize workers' retirement health benefits to pay off GM's debt is illegal, say Greens White House and Congress must outlaw lending and credit card usury
Green Party Speakers Bureau: Green leaders available to speak on economics http://www.gp.org/speakers/speakers-economic-justice.php
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders said today that measures to end the recession must focus on the financial needs of middle- and lower-income Americans, and accused Democrats and Republicans in Congress and President Obama of favoring big banks, financial institutions, and insurance firms.
"The very banks, Wall Street firms, and insurance companies that are responsible for the economic crisis are calling the shots for economic recovery. They're using their power over Congress and the White House to make sure that taxpayers' money and workers' retirement benefits rescue CEOs and major shareholders. They're blocking badly needed regulation and the deeper reforms in our economic system that are necessary to dig us out of the hole. Unfortunately, President Obama and Democrats and Republicans in Congress are cooperating with them so that the power these corporations hold over America remains undiminished," said Laura Wells, former candidate for California State Controller (TV interview: http://www.gp.org/flash/LauraWells/lw.html). Ms. Wells intends to run for the position again "until we -- the people of this state -- win. We need to follow the money, understand it, and correct it."
"The measure of the health of the economy is the stability of the nation's households. The current economic 'remedies' offered by Republicans, Democrats, and the Obama Administration are designed to ensure the well-being of corporations at the expense of our households," said Jill Bussiere, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.
Congress and the White House have refused to take real action against skyrocketing interest rates, especially on credit cards, by restoring laws against usury and imposing interest rate caps. Greens called the Democrats' "Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights" a small step in the right direction but severely inadequate, with no limits on future credit card interest rates.
"The economic meltdown is the result of deregulated lending -- predatory mortgage lending, outrageous credit card interest and fees, and other practices that have put working Americans into endless debt and bankrupted small businesses," said Jody Grage, treasurer of the Green Party of the United States. "But Democrats and Republicans alike have refused to consider modest steps like an 18% interest rate cap, out of loyalty to major corporate campaign contributors and lobbies."
"The most important step in ending the economic crisis must be reversal of the Reagan-Bush-Clinton revolution, which deregulated the financial industry. All that rhetoric about 'shrinking big government' really meant repealing protections for working people, especially laws against usury. Since 1980, bipartisan legislation favoring giant corporate lenders have paved the way for the current disaster. It's time to restore and expand the Glass-Steagal Act, overturn recent bankruptcy bills that put millions of Americans in hock to credit card companies and other financial corporations, and place restrictive caps on corporate lenders and creditors," said Ms. Grage.
More information: "The Trouble With Democrats" by William Greider, The Nation, June 22, 2009 (http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090622/greider).
While the recent massive taxpayer-funded bailouts for Wall Street firms and major banks have imposed minimal conditions, the Obama Administration forced General Motors into bankruptcy and now demands that the retirement health benefits of workers be used to pay off the GM's debt.
"By demanding that GM workers' retirement money be sent to creditor banks, Steven Rattner, President Obama's 'Car Czar,' is breaking the law. That money belongs to the workers, not to GM or the banks. This is outright theft, for the benefit of powerful banks," said Jody Grage.
The 1974 Employment Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) protects benefits that workers have already paid for, prohibiting their use to pay off an employer's debt. More information: "Grand Theft Auto: How Stevie the Rat bankrupted GM" by Greg Palast, June 1, 2009 (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/vlatibertaciana/message/3894).
A Harvard Medical School and Ohio University study reported in the American Journal of Medicine (http://www.pnhp.org/new_bankruptcy_study) reveals that medical bills are behind 60% of bankruptcies in the US.
"Insurance companies are chiefly responsible for the breakdown of US health care and skyrocketing medical costs, and for contributing to the greater economic crisis by sending Americans into bankruptcy. The only solution is to remove for-profit insurance from the health care system and converting to a Single-Payer/Medicare For All national health care plan, which would protect everyone from financial ruin because of illness or injury," said Ron Forthofer, PhD, Green candidate for Congress in 2000 and for governor of Colorado in 2002 and retired professor of biostatistics, the University of Texas School of Public Health (see http://www.healthcareforallcolorado.org).
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