Its getting much easier now to draw a direct line between the 1% and the harm they are causing millions of people. In fact, I can draw a line of fiscal violence from JP Morgan Chase against hundreds of thousands of Washington State kids alone. It started last year....
Washington State slashed billions of dollars from its state budget for 2011-2013. Part of that cut was a reduction of 1.9% of teachers salaries, but the state legislature did not reduce the number of constitutionally required school days. Some school districts made up the 1.9% cut, but many responded by increasing the number of half days the schools would operate. Washington allows school in operation until 11:30 to be counted as a full day. So technically, schools will be operating 180 days, but in reality, those kids would be attending 1.9% fewer hours (translates into 3.4 days fewer of school).
A contingent of WA House legislators sponsored House Bill 2078, which would have eliminated a tax exemption on interest earnings on first mortgages written by banks with presence in more than ten states. The elimination of this deduction would have brought in $105 million in new revenue, which was to be dedicated to maintaining lower class sizes in grades K-3. Ultimately, the deduction was spared from legislative action on a 52 yea-42 nay vote. Taxing legislation in WA must acheive a 2/3rds majority in the legislature or a majority vote of the people thanks to a people's initiative passed in 2010, but that's a whole other story. Of course, this is only one piece of the reduction pie, but thanks to the failure of the legislature to raise revenue, labor relations and school calendars in WA state public schools were thrown into disarray and opportunities for today's students were reduced. Just another way to put the squeeze on the lower and middle classes who traditionally have found a leg up through education.
All that happened in May 2011. Fast forward to September 2011; the rulers of the Washington State universe meet in a business conclave at Suncadia resort near Cle Elum, WA. Their purpose was to plan for the upcoming 2011 legislative interim session and prepare to defend their tax cuts all the way. The 99% had the temerity to disrupt the wine tasting and golf sessions with a protest :
Anti-poverty activists tried to crash a meeting of business leaders ata resort in Central Washington. The action – dubbed “Showdown at Suncadia” – happened today as the state’s chamber of commerce held its annual policy summit.
Three SUVs full of activists made it as far as the parking lot of Suncadia Resort near Cle Elum. Stopped by sheriff’s deputies, the group waved signs and aimed their chants at JPMorgan Chase, the multi-national bank that took over failed Washington Mutual.
Oh my, pity JP Morgan Chase, targeted yet again as the exemplar of failed business ethics. There is no love lost for Chase in WA, as one of their first acts following takeover of Washington Mutual, headquartered in Seattle, was to lay off over 3,400 Seattle based employees. But hell, beside that, they threatended to take their ball and go home if the people of Washington dared to take back their tax break for doing business in WA. Chase is one of those banks who do business in more than 10 states that would be subject to a tax increase should the afformentioned expemption be repealed:
Inside the conference, JPMorgan’s top official in the Northwest, Phyllis Campbell, defended the tax exemption.
“The first mortgage interest deduction is an incentive to continue to lend heavily in the first mortgage market in the state of Washington. So I just want to make sure that we have an incentive to do that instead of have the money go to, say, another state,” Campbell said.
Oh, I'm sorry Phyliss but BOO FUCKING HOO. Take your business elsewhere and stop screwing us. Really.
Fast forward again to October 27, 2011. The governor of WA writes a letter:
Despite three years of cutting budgets, reducing and eliminating services, and transforming government, Washington faces yet another major challenge. The September revenue forecast has forced another major overhaul of the state operating budget, this time to accommodate a drop of nearly $1.4 billion. Given signs that the November forecast is likely to bring additional bad news, I have prepared a list of alternatives that represent total expenditure reductions of more than $2 billion for the 2011–13 biennium.We will need at least that much to balance the budget and maintain a reserve.
Another $2 billion cut. For public education alone, the governor is considering ending school busing, cutting the school year by 5 days and year, and reducing funding for teacher staffing. You can see the full range of budget cuts being proposedhere. Its not just kids that will suffer either; the range of cuts touches every agency and social safety net in Washington State.
All so JP Morgan Chase and their ilk can comfortably play golf and drink wine. Its truly revolting they would so eagerly defend their right to profit while denying our kids education. Theirs the direct line between their tax cuts and our future.
Jamie Dimon will speak today at the invitation of the University of Washington's Foster School of Business "Business Leadership Celebration." (Really UW? This is the kind of leadership you're celebrating?) Thank the universe for the Occupy movement. They'll be protesting at the Sheraton Hotel in Westlake where Dimon will be speaking:
Occupy Seattle protestors have set their sights on a new target: The highest paid banker on Wall Street who will be visiting Seattle on Wednesday.
"He is the embodiment of Chase as the bank and big banks in general. He is the top 1% of the 1%. He made $20.8 million in 2010 making him the top paid banker in the county."
Wilson says Dimon’s visit is especially galling to anyone who lives in the state. Back in 2008 Dimon spearheaded JP Morgan Chase’s acquisition of Washington Mutual – the largest bank failure in history.
"This is a bank which is foreclosing on people. They’re charging EBT beneficiaries 85 cents a transaction, they laid off 3,400 people after they bought Washington Mutual. This is stuff that nobody in the 99% wants to see happening," said Wilson.
Thank you Occupy! Our state legislators need to develop the same guts you have and tell Chase to shove it! We won't short shrift our futures for your champagne wishes!