Calls on Chamber Train Riders to Support Fully Renewed Federal Unemployment Benefits
NEWARK, NJ — On January 26, 2012, New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) members protested the annual NJ Chamber of Commerce's "Walk to Washington." The protest was held at the Newark and Metropark Train Stations. Protesters dressed as skunks with the message "unemployment stinks" and handed out clothes pins with a message that urged attendees not to make life harder for the unemployed and to support fully renewed federal unemployment benefits.
The NJ Chamber of Commerce's "Walk to Washington" is one of NJ's premier private political events of the year, attended by legislators, regulators and members of the state's executive branch. "Every year high paid lobbyists and corporations spend big bucks, up to $15,000, for the opportunity to have access to NJ's political establishment on this private train," stated Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, NJCA Executive Director." "Citizen Action would like to remind these folks of the millions of Americans without jobs that allow this kind of elite access. Being unemployed is hard enough, we shouldn't make life more difficult for these people who are struggling just to make ends meet by adding mean spirited restrictions to federal unemployment benefits," she added. Full details in our Media Release.
- "Chamber Of Commerce Train Leaves N.J. For Annual 'Walk To Washington' Event"
- "All Aboard The New Jersey Chamber's Lobbying Express"
Thank you for attending the Financial Reform Summit on November 30, 2011 and making it such a great success! Special thanks to the panelists and everyone who participated in the conference, including consumer advocates, community leaders, elected officials, bankers, regulators, labor leaders, seniors, academics, students and members of the public.
Speakers discussed the developments financial reform in New Jersey since the enactment of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, its impact on consumers, investors and small business owners. State and national reform experts also discussed the foreclosure crisis, the efficacy of state and national programs meant sole it, as well as alternative approaches that seem to be having a positive impact and how they can help homeowners in New Jersey.
On July 15, 2010 NJ Citizen Action, having spent the past year fighting for Financial Reform legislation, celebrated the Senate passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, one of the last hurdles before President Obama signs it into law. The legislation will take unprecedented steps to clean up Wall Street:
- It will protect consumers buying homes.
- It will create new rules of the road for credit to protect families and small businesses.
- It will rein in the casino economy and stop speculators from operating in secret.
- It will provide the tools to stop future bailouts.
- It will make our economy more secure and more stable.
- Press Release.
- News Coverage: "Holt Advocates Wall Street Reform Bill In South River" (Sentinel July 22, 2010), "Financial Reforms In Eye Of Beholder" (Asbury Park Press July 22, 2010), "Congress Passes Overhaul To Prevent Future Bailouts" (Asbury Park Press July 15, 2010), "State And Local Bankers Criticize Landmark Reform Bill" (Press of Atlantic City July 13, 2010)
Senator Menendez, NJ Citizen Action and Consumer Groups Want a Bailout Prevention Fund
Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) held a press conference on April 12, 2010 in Hoboken to urge support of an increase in a proposed fund to avoid future big bank bailouts paid for with taxpayer money. Senator Menendez was joined by representatives from NJ Citizen Action and Consumers Union, as well as New Jersey resident Edward Heaton, who as a taxpayer has contributed to the big bank bailout but is still waiting for permanent loan modification to save his home currently in foreclosure.
"Simply put: we can't have a system where big Wall Street banks take huge gambles, knowing that they can keep the gains if they win, but that we will pay the costs if they lose," said Senator Menendez. "We need to require the big banks to pay up-front to insure against any future failures, and shore up our financial system so that American families' lives are not devastated by another foreclosure crisis, and on top of that are left footing the bailout bill. This fund will not be used for bailouts; it will only be used to dissolve failing institutions. If Wall Street banks behave recklessly they should gamble with their own money, not the hard earned cash of the American taxpayer."
NJCA organizer Leslie Schlesinger, present at the event, noted that "This will be a powerful deterrent to the high-profit, high-risk environment that Wall Street has become today."
- Senator Menendez's Press Release.
- News Coverage: "U.S. Sen. Menendez Pushes For Passage Of Bailout Prevention Fund" (The Jersey Journal — April 12, 2010).
On January 29, 2010, members of New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA) and community leadership representing affiliate organizations held an informational picket at the Jersey City offices of Morgan Stanley to demand the bank put an end to multi-billion dollar bonuses, reject the "Too Big To Fail Doctrine," and use their anticipated $14.4 billion bonus pool to help New Jersey families facing foreclosure and small business generate jobs.
"The Big Banks — especially Morgan Stanley — need to stop the greedy and reckless behavior. It's outrageous that after taking 25 billion of our tax dollars, Morgan Stanley is back to business as usual, paying huge bonuses and fighting against reforms that would protect us from their abuses in the future." said Phyllis Salowe-Kaye, executive director of New Jersey Citizen Action (NJCA). "Now is the time for them to start making amends for past transgressions and hold the big banks accountable. A good first step would include directing a significant portion of their $14.4 billion-dollar bonus pool to a fund to help prevent foreclosure. It's the least they could do."
Today's informational picket was the latest in a series of nation-wide mobilizations to try to rein in Wall Street and hold them accountable for the current financial crisis. Today's action followed similar NJCA pickets of the Jersey City offices of Goldman Sachs and AIG in 2009. Full details in our Press Release.
For too long, the rules of Wall Street have been written by the bankers themselves. This year, that has to change. New Jersey Citizen Action has joined Americans for Financial Reform.
AFR is a coalition of nearly 200 national, state and local consumer, labor, retiree, investor, community and civil rights organizations campaign for real reform in our banking and financial system. We aim to hold our New Jersey elected leaders accountable, and to insist on a strong role for the public in making crucial decisions about our economic future.
We call for:
- Congress to put in place a real system with the resources and authority to police Wall Street.
- A consumer watchdog who can give the American people the security they expect and deserve when making financial decisions.
- Reforms that keep people in their homes and prompt smart investment in communities and businesses that create good jobs and strong neighborhoods.
Accountability, fairness, and security must be linchpins of financial reform.
In the face of a full-blown global economic crisis, bold action is needed now by leaders in Congress, the Administration and the federal government to repair our nation's broken financial system, establish integrity in the financial markets, and facilitate productive economic activity that benefits all segments of our communities.
It is only in doing these things that we can meaningfully address the public's shattered confidence in the fairness of the financial marketplace and establish a healthy, robust and productive economy.
Visit the national campaign website of Americans for Financial Reform at http://ourfinancialsecurity.org/