Time to REBEL! 5 Ways We Can Break the Big Banks’ Death Grip on the Economy
Alter Net — Let’s be honest. Many people are feeling a little hopeless and cynical about whether anything can change how Wall Street banks run roughshod over the economy and our democracy. We’ve marched, rallied, sat-in and thousands have been arrested–and yet bankers have remained unrepentant, unpunished, unindicted and seemingly untouchable. But the wheels of history are turning and Wall Street’s incredible greed and arrogance may have finally handed us the tools and leverage we need to challenge and break the death grip Wall Street has on struggling people and communities around the country.
Two critical tools–the LIBOR fraud scandal and the potential to start exercising eminent domain to seize bank-owned properties–can supercharge the ongoing campaigns focused on Wall Street. For the first time we can align moral and legal arguments with real leverage to demand that banks renegotiate the debt that is bankrupting communities and drowning homeowners around the country. The single most important step we can take to address local budget deficits is to force banks to renegotiate toxic deals held by local government and to rewrite mortgages for underwater homeowners. Combined, this would pump hundreds of billions into local economies.
First some definitions:
The LIBOR fraud scandal may seem confusing, but it is really pretty simple. Over $800 trillion in loans, derivatives and other financial deals are based on LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate). The banks fixed the rate to increase their profits at our expense and now everyone all over the world is trying to figure out how much it has cost the rest of us.