MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT
Perhaps the best way to occupy Wall Street is by pulling our money out of big banks.
Sure, it's a big inconvenience to find a credit union or local bank that then doesn't have thousands of branches around the country. But if the banks that are "too big to fail" collapse because of a lack of consumer confidence in their ability to financially serve the nation, a new system that is based on rebuilding the American economy and customer service might emerge.
In, for instance, dissecting just some of the reasons (ten) to leave Bank of America, Nomi Prins writes for Truthout that we can choose where we keep our money:
Without being broken up via a new, strong Glass-Steagall Act, when banks need to find ways to make money, they resort to extorting it from their sitting ducks, er - customers. Meanwhile, that's where credit unions, which are not-for-profits owned by their members and not by outside shareholders, come in. They generally don't engage in crazy derivatives trades, or charge unnecessary fees for holding your money or for letting you pay bills with it, or for online banking. In terms of personal attention, among other economic reasons, the credit and smaller community banks are a much better bet.
The banks "too big to fail" otherwise have us as hostages. While a pocket park in Manhattan is "occupied," the "Masters of the Universe" who control America's financial system are sitting quite pretty. Washington, DC, is in their pocket from the White House down. In the US, controlling trillions of dollar in money gives one the keys to that kind of power.
As has been pointed out over and over again, the very people who are responsible for the near financial collapse of America are still in charge through a revolving door between Wall Street and the federal government. ProPublica just did an update about all the financial chieftains who cratered the economy and have not been prosecuted. In fact, none of them have been charged with any wrongdoing as individuals.
Although the feds arrested a Goldman Sachs board director the other day, there doesn't appear to be any ongoing Department of Justice investigation to indict the main culprits of the recession. The charges against Rajat Gupta are for insider trading, a narrow range of trading for profit with privileged information.
As BuzzFlash at Truthout noted recently, "Big Banks Don't Want Your Money, Unless You Pay Them to Keep It - for Real."
Prins reminds us that the fastest way to reforming Wall Street may be by proactively moving our dollars to credit unions and banks that cater to Main Street - and where we are treated with respect, and our money is used to invest in the economic infrastructure of our communities.