By JoAnne Powers, June 9, 2016
A coalition of progressive organizations ranging from labor unions to faith groups have launched the “Take On Wall Street” campaign, aimed at rebalancing the economy to give working families a shot at the American dream. The campaign is advocating a range of financial reforms, as well as tracking the vast sums of money being poured into political campaigns. Both of the nation’s largest teachers’ unions are part of the Take On Wall Street coalition. American federation of teachers president Randi Weingarten explains why addressing economic inequality is of great importance to U.S. teachers:
[Randi Weingarten]: “Educational and economic opportunities are totally and completely interlocked. Two-thirds of the achievement gap in our schools happens because of social-economic issues. The more people make in terms of incomes, the more communities thrive, the more they can invest in schools and in bridges and in roads, the more economic vitality you have in a community. What we’re seeing instead is a trickle-down theory where people who have been on the top of the income scale and the wealth scale like hedge funds will say, ‘No, no, no, you don’t need an investment in other people’s children.’ Well, hell yes, you need an investment in other people’s children! The investment in children creates options. We need the investment for kids from Pre-K onwards. When you have that, and you have communities that are thriving because the economy has been rebalanced and there are jobs aplenty and there are jobs that command middle-class salaries, then people have more money in their pockets to pay for the investments that they need for their kids.”
The Take On Wall Street Campaign has come up with five specific reforms, ranging from eliminating tax loopholes that contribute to economic inequality and skyrocketing CEO pay to a speculation tax on Wall Street trades and breaking up banks that are supposedly “too big to fail”.
[Randi Weingarten]: “We’re trying to pass a twenty-first century Glass-Steagall. We’re trying to close the CEO bonus loophole. We’re trying to create a financial gains tax on Wall Street’s trades which would generate billions of dollars in revenue. And we’re trying to make sure that there is affordable and fair financial services. These five things would help make Wall Street Accountable for predatory practices that shed light on backroom deals. It will create some sunshine and it will create more fairness and they’re practical and their doable. All of these things are really important to really just try and make Wall Street and the hedge-fund industry accountable.”