Twenty leading U.S. banks collectively paid their top five executives $2 billion in tax-deductible bonuses between 2012 and 2015, according to a recent report examining Wall Street CEO pay.
That $2 billion figure works out to be a tax break valued at $725 million, or $1.7 million per executive per year, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS), a progressive think tank, found.
"Taxpayers should not have to subsidize excessive CEO bonuses at any corporation," report co-author and IPS Global Economy Project Director Sarah Anderson said in a statement. "But such subsidies are particularly troubling when they prop up a pay system that encourages the reckless behavior which caused one devastating national crisis -- and could cause more in the future."
Chicago community activists and local elected officials delivered 88,000 petition signatures to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC) regional office Thursday morning, urging the agency to investigate complex financial agreements called interest rate swaps.
Those who delivered the petition signatures, collected online by the Grassroots Collaborative and several other organizations, say cash-strapped local and state governments are being squeezed by the "toxic swaps" they entered into with banks before the Great Recession. The complicated deals, which come with hefty penalties and termination fees, were intended to save taxpayer-backed organizations money, but they backfired when the economy crashed.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) proposed new regulations Thursday to crack down on the payday lending industry.
Payday lending provides short-term access to credit, but usually comes with high interest rates, often in the triple digits, and expensive fees.
"The consumer bureau is proposing strong protections aimed at ending payday debt traps," CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a news release. "Too many borrowers seeking a short-term cash fix are saddled with loans they cannot afford and sink into long-term debt. It's much like getting into a taxi just to ride across town and finding yourself stuck in a ruinously expensive cross-country journey. By putting in place mainstream, common-sense lending standards, our proposal would prevent lenders from succeeding by setting up borrowers to fail."
The Chicago Teachers Union held a massive downtown rally Thursday evening, during which 16 people were arrested for protesting inside Bank of America. Progress Illinois was there for the demonstration.
The state owes the agency, which has been operating on bank credit during the more than seven-monthlong budget impasse, approximately $1 million for services that have been performed since July 1, the start of the current fiscal year.
Family Home Service's Director Marsha Holmes told reporters Tuesday morning that the agency has exhausted its line of credit and cannot obtain another loan. If the current budget situation continues much longer, Family Home Service could be forced to shut down, Holmes said.
"Our elderly and disabled population rely on our workers. They don't want to face uncertainty," Holmes said at Family Home Service's offices, 1040 W. Huron St. "What happens if they have to face uncertainty if our doors happen to close? They have built relationships with their home care workers. That is why a stable workforce is so important in this home care industry."