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The financial industry and its lobbyists “own” Washington policymaking, as Sen. Durbin said in 2009 when fighting for financial reform following the devastating 2008 financial crash which was caused by the financial industry’s reckless, predatory, and illegal conduct. In October of 2009 – just 13 months after the crash of the Lehman Brothers investment bank – 27 million American were unemployed due the crash Wall Street’s megabanks caused; more than 16 million foreclosures would be filed and about 40% of all homes would be underwater, worth less than their mortgages; lost savings, educations, retirements and so much more were inflicted on innocent hardworking Americans from coast to coast. Meanwhile, Wall Street paid itself more than $20 billion in bonuses for 2009, after being bailed out by taxpayers.
But it’s not just crashes or ancient history. Financiers also routinely engage in high risk, dangerous activities and rip off Main Street families, those with credit cards or loans and those setting aside a little money for an education, a home or retirement. Rather than being a wealth-creation system, finance is too often a wealth extraction mechanism, moving money from your pockets to their bonuses.
That’s just wrong and that’s why we founded Better Markets in 2010 – to be counterweight to the financial industry in the policymaking process by pushing for the public interest to be prioritized over the special interests. Finance should support the real, productive economy that funds jobs, small businesses, and economic growth, not just Wall Street’s self-enrichment schemes. Finance is still powerful, but it is rarely unopposed anymore, and more often than not the public interest wins over their special interests.
Just two quick examples. First, after preventing FTX and its CEO Sam Bankman-Fried from getting their special interests enacted into law, Better Markets is still fighting the crooked crypto industry, which is trying to make everyone believe that the American people are clamoring for more crypto. It’s been widely touting a poll it claims shows more than 50 million Americans own crypto and more than 75 million Americans are going to trade crypto over the next year. That’s ludicrous, and we issued a Fact Sheet showing the poll was misleading and urged the media to stop repeating the false claims. Proving this, Politico reported on a new crypto-focused super PAC TV ad campaign supporting House candidates who support crypto, but the ads tellingly never mention crypto. If 50 to 70 million Americans were in love with crypto, you can be sure crypto would be all over those ads, but the industry knows that the American people don’t want more crypto crooks and predators unleashed on them.
Another example is Wall Street attacks on banking regulators who are attempting to require them to have a very small additional amount of capital to help prevent crashes, contagion, and bailouts. Better Markets has been leading the fight against these false and misleading claims, including by pointing out that well-capitalized banks are good for everyone except Wall Street CEOs.
Finance’s special interests trying to bend the laws, rules, and regulations aren’t new, but having to confront an effective, influential, and independent counterweight like Better Markets is! There are already too many cashing in and fighting for the already wealthy and well-connected. We’re honored to fight for the public interest and with your support we’ve been able to stop a dangerous proposal to allow gambling on elections, stood up to Wall Street’s egregious lies on capital, and provided the public with the truth about crypto. This is in addition to our ongoing advocacy to push regulatory agencies to enact rules that protect Main Street consumers, investors, small businesses, and community banks.
You. Yes, you are the answer to the question of how can Better Markets be so effective? We depend entirely on donations so, without you, there is no Better Markets. Your support truly makes all the difference, and with it we can bring not just change, but real progress. This Giving Tuesday, please help us in the fight to protect your interests.
Co-Founder, President & CEO, Better Markets