PI Original Adam Doster Monday October 12th, 2009, 12:58pm

Dean Baker Urges Readers To "Come to Chicago"

The banking lobby has plenty of flaws, but insufficient chutzpah is
not one of them. Just this past year, the financial sector has received
a $17.5 trillion government boost
in the form of bailout payments and other subsidization,  this after
Wall Street's financial ...

The banking lobby has plenty of flaws, but insufficient chutzpah is not one of them. Just this past year, the financial sector has received a $17.5 trillion government boost in the form of bailout payments and other subsidization,  this after Wall Street's financial wizardry sent the economy into the gutter to begin with. Now, just as Sen. Dick Durbin warned in April, the same bankers are spending considerable resources beating back any type of regulatory reform that could impact their bottom line.

Take the American Banking Association's recent campaign to water down proposed consumer financial protection agency. With the help of corporate-friendly Democrats, Hill lobbyists have dramatically altered the House bill, exempting banks from state consumer protection laws, stripping the bill of "plain vanilla" provision to simplify the products it lends, and stacking the regulatory board with bank officials. In the New York Times this weekend, Joe Nocera pointed out the most galling aspect of this lobbying blitz; despite shifting the bill in their favor, the ABA is still lobbying against it:

Not long ago, the A.B.A. sent an “action alert” to its member banks, pleading with them to call their congressman in a last-ditch effort to stop the bill. (“Passing more laws that will overly complicate and restrict the products our customers need is detrimental to our banks,” the note read in part.) And even if the bill does pass, the industry is hoping to pervert its purpose, so that it will become a means to stifle competition from nonbank financial institutions.

To which one can only ask: Have they no shame?

Center for Economic and Policy Research Co-Director Dean Baker doesn't think so. That's why he wrote in a post at Talking Points Memo Cafe today that struggling citizens should join national labor leaders, the Chicago-based National People’s Action, the SEIU Illinois Council (which sponsors this website), and 16 other affiliated organizations in Chicago later this month for a three-day demonstration outside of the ABA's annual convention:

In the meantime, in elite Washington circles people are busy making plans for a national sales tax so that the government can limit the fiscal damage caused by the bankers' recession. A sales tax is of course very regressive since low and moderate-income people typically spend the vast majority of their income, while our banker friends will more likely to be able to save some of their income or spend it in other countries where they will not be paying this new sales tax.

To summarize: the bankers wrecked the economy with their greed, ran off with taxpayer dollars in a massive bailout, and now plan to raise taxes for the rest of us. If that picture doesn't sound quite right, then go to Chicago.

You can read Baker's full post here.

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