The fact is, this crisis has left a deficit of trust between Main Street and Wall Street. And major banks that were rescued by the taxpayers have an obligation to go the extra mile in helping to close that deficit. At minimum, they should be remedying past mortgage abuses that led to the financial crisis, and working to keep responsible homeowners in their home.
This is not a quote from Robert Reich, although he daily pens essays on similar themes. It's not from Elizabeth Warren, although you would not have to strain very hard to imagine her saying something similar. Nor is it from some march leader trying to rally a crowd at an OccupyHomes event yesterday.
No, the President of the United States said it yesterday. In his speech he didn't just "strike a populist chord" as the New York Times put it; Presidents have to speak diplomatically, having to choose words carefully, so let me translate that quote into language the ninety-nine percent now implicitly get:
BANKS GOT BAILED OUT. WE GOT SOLD OUT!
Let me spell it out:
major banks that were rescued by the taxpayers -- BANKS GOT BAILED OUT!
...At a minimum they should be remedying past mortgage abuses... -- NOT SO SUBTLY IMPLYING THAT THEY ARE NOT NOW REMEDYING THESE ABUSES.
...and working to keep responsible homeowners in their home. -- BUT THEY ARE NOT, SO HOMEOWNERS ARE GETTING SOLD OUT.
Again, Presidents don't say things for yucks. If the banks don't get this message, then they are truly and completely out of touch with reality.
Not only that, but what could be a clearer signal not to buckle to Attorneys General like Kamala Harris and Martha Coakley -- who are resisting efforts to settle robosigning and illegal foreclosure suits against the Big Banks, efforts being led by the Federal Government itself!
If there was ever an indication that the message of Occupy Wall Street was resonating, to me this was it. OccupyHomes supporters and the Occupy Wall Street movement should regard this jab from the President, in conjunction with yesterday's nation-spanning events, as a major victory. To be followed up, of course, with even more foreclosure and eviction actions, essentially with the not-quite-explicit-but-obvious encouragement of the President.
What could be more potent than for defenders standing on the doorsteps of soon-to-be-foreclosed homes to quote the President's own statement to the bank's representatives and the press about how banks got bailed out and yet are not doing shit to keep homeowners in their homes?