The petition reads:
Dear Chase, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America:
We call on you to help the folks that you Scrooged out of their homes and end the homelessness crisis you created. Donate your $91.44 Billion in holiday bonuses to undo the damage you’ve done.
[your name here]Complete the following to sign - we'll pass on the message.
(UPDATE: With 50,000+ signers, our open letter has been covered in Democracy Now, the Huffington Post, and The Guardian.)
“Wall Street is about to give themselves $91.44 Billion – with a B – in holiday bonuses, even as they continue to dodge jail time for their ongoing crime spree!”1
HUH? Wall Street megabanks forced ten million people out of their homes due to the foreclosure crisis, while spending 2013 dodging the law for the blatant financial fraud that left folks homeless.2
HOW? Ten banks kicked off 2013 by paying $8.5 billion to settle complaints that they improperly foreclosed on homeowners3; in the summer, Bank of America was charged with rewarding employees who pushed the MOST people into foreclosure4; and then JPMorgan Chase rounded off the year by paying $13BN in fines to make fraud complaints go away.5
WHY? That $91.44 Billion a year could go a very long way towards undoing the vast damage done by Wall Street’s megabanks that have engaged in megafraud, not to mention go quite a long way towards curbing American homelessness in general.
How insane is our Wall Street bonus situation? Wall Street bankers are running out of ideas of how to spend the money. That’s not a joke: the Financial Times publishes “How To Spend It” magazine to help stumped Wall Street bankers figure out what to do with their fat bonus checks.
Megabankers might not spend too much time outside of the financial district, but we do, and we know that bankers are unbelievably unpopular right now. So, we’re asking them to do the right thing: give their bonuses to the people they made homeless. It doesn’t take a genius to know this is good PR – it’s a win/win for the banks!
Are you the kind of nerd, like us, who wants more details and sources? Read on!
We weren’t joking about $91.44 Billion putting us on the road to ending homelessness for good.
Seriously: The National Affordable Housing Trust is a program that, if funded for $30 billion a year for 10 years, could END homelessness in America. The banks could pay for the first two years of funding with one year of bonuses alone!6 Meanwhile, public housing – y’know, the place that the foreclosed have largely been pushed into? – has needed $21 Billion in repairs for a long time.7 That means $10.44 Billion left over – more than enough bonuses for every Wall Street banker to take many, many, many trips to Disney World, or whatever Wall Street bankers spend their money on. (Ahem.)
1. Wall St. Bonuses Over All Are Predicted to Rise 5 to 10%, New York Times.
2. The Financial Crisis: Why Have No High-Level Executives Been Prosecuted?, NY Review of Books.
3. Ten banks settle foreclosure charges for $8.5 billion, USA Today.
4. Bank of America Bribed Employees Into Screwing Homeowners, Because Finance Is Boring.
5. Alexis Breaks Down The $13 Billion Chase Settlement.
6. Support for MID Reform Grows as NLIHC Proposal Receives National Media Attention, National Low Income Housing Coalition.
7. It’s Hard to Tell Who Hates Public Housing More: Democrats or Republicans, Disorderly Conduct.