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One year ago this week, in the wake of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Bush administration and Congress began massive taxpayer-backed efforts to save Wall Street. Hundreds of billions of dollars later, taxpayers have saved Wall Street, but Congress hasn’t changed Wall Street’s regulation or culture in order to prevent future meltdowns.
“Put simply, that means that Congress hasn’t saved the rest of us,” says Lizzi Weyant, staff attorney for MASSPIRG. Wall Street bankers still pay themselves massive bonuses even when they fail, and consumers still face unfair financial practices. But even while these practices continue, Congress has failed to implement reform measures and has instead responded to lobbying campaigns from the big banks who claim that the financial meltdown wasn’t their fault and reform wasn’t necessary.
“It’s time for Congress to reject business as usual and enact real financial reform, starting with passage of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency,” continued Weyant. That agency would serve to safeguard the American economy by setting standards for ordinary mortgages, restricting or prohibiting risky loans, investigating financial institutions, and enforcing new laws aimed at protecting credit card customers.
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