“Golden Parachutes” for Working People:
Jail With No Bail for the Wall Street Rich!
Statement by Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
Revised March 2009
With over one trillion dollars in bailouts thus far, the U.S.
government and international finance capital have once again proven
that they live by their own version of the “Golden Rule”: Protect the
gold of those who rule.
In October 2008, facing a deep financial meltdown similar to the Great
Depression of the 1930’s, including a series of failures of the major
Wall Street firms Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch, giant
mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the largest
insurance company, AIG, the Bush regime successfully pushed an $810
billion public bailout for the private Wall Street firms
and banks. There was hardly a dime for any working family that lost
jobs or homes! Congressional Democrats and Republicans, including both
major parties’ presidential candidates McCain and Obama, united in
writing this “blank check” for Wall Street at taxpayer expense.
Those responsible for the mess have done just fine. For, example, in
2006, the then top five Wall Street firms of Bear Stearns, Goldman
Sachs, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley (three are now
gone!) awarded management employees some $40 billion in Christmas
bonuses. The combined wage increases of the 93 million U.S. workers for
the six-year period of 2000-2006 was less than one-half of the 2006
holiday bonuses to these Wall Street crooks!
Over the past decade almost all regulation and oversight was eliminated
from the banking and investment sector. Speculative capital reigned
supreme with vast profits fueled by sub-prime loans that eventually
sunk the housing market. It was a “house of cards”, creating nothing
productive, waiting to fall.
This new “great depression” was largely caused by predatory lending,
speculative capital, the oil wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, huge tax
breaks for the rich, and capitalist overproduction featuring the
diminishing purchasing power of the working class. Yet the Wall Street
crooks get “golden parachutes”. Kerry Killinger, the forced out CEO of
now failed Washington Mutual Bank waved goodbye with over $20 million
in compensation. The exit package for Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron was
over $14 million and Fannie Mae CEO Daniel Mudd “only” received about
$10 million. As bailed-out Bank of America was about to swallow up
Merrill Lynch after the latter had lost $27 billion in 2008, Merrill
Lynch execs received a last minute $4 billion “consolation prize”! Wall
Street managers received $18 billion in holiday bonuses for 2008 out of
the taxpayer funded bailouts.
So what about the rest of us, the workers, the working poor, the oppressed?
We are in chronic and acute economic crisis. Official unemployment is
rising at the fastest pace in years with almost two million jobs lost
in the last four months of 2008 and over 600,000 more in January of
2009. For many who still have jobs, two and three jobs (often temporary
ones with no benefits) have become a way of life. Over 50 million
people have no health coverage. Pensions for workers have all but
disappeared into the 401K scam that have now taken a beating from the
collapsing stock market. Gas prices are again on the rise with large
chunks of our income used for transportation to work while Exxon Mobil
made a record $11.7 billion in profit! Food prices are increasing at a
gallop. Home heating costs rise far more than our wages. Aggressive
corporate union-busting has made it more difficult to organize unions
and maintain strong ones capable of forcing companies to share more of
Increasingly we face: Lay offs and loss of income; life savings
disappearing due to family sickness; entire paychecks going to
childcare; elder care that often sinks a family; working folks losing
their homes and rented apartments. Over 4 million homes were foreclosed
in the last two years, a lost roof over the heads of over 20 million
people! Millions more now owe more on their homes than they are worth,
with the dream of home ownership turning into a nightmare.
In this crisis, alcoholism, drug addiction, incarceration, suicide and
divorce all rise and children do more poorly in school. The system says
if you haven’t “made it”, it’s your own fault. There are no soft
landings for the workers and our families.
Working people were so outraged at the massive bailout of Wall Street
last fall that they forced House members to initially vote down the
Bush/Paulson/Pelosi bi-partisan bill, a vote that shock-ed the world.
However, under pressure from their Wall Street benefactors, Congress
passed this grand heist. Today, with more bail-out plans in the works,
the Obama-Biden administration and Congressional Republicans and
Democrats, are all uniting to serve the Wall Street rich with
little attention to the people’s needs. They offer no way out. So what
can we do??
In the short run, organize united front/coalition efforts
in our communities, unions, fraternal associations and religious
institutions. Rally and fight for:
For the long run – organize and fight for workers’ power!
No more bailout for the wealthy – period!! Jail with no bail instead!
Nationalization of the banks! Take the profit
out of banking and lending. Run them with local community/worker
controlled boards for the “public good” similar to the Post Office.
Strengthening of Social Security and
expansion of its benefits. Government restoration of lost 401K
retirement funds and transfer of these funds to protected and
guaranteed pension plans.
Stoppage of home foreclosures and eviction of renters due to predatory lending, loss of jobs and illness.
Millions of decent jobs by winning shorter
work week with no reduction in pay and a massive public works program
at a living wage, rebuilding the decaying infrastructure of the United
This financial crisis proves that the monopoly capitalist system, based
on private profit and greed, is corrupt to the core and a parasite on
the toiling masses of humanity. This imperialist system is responsible
for the U.S. wars of occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq. It cannot meet
the needs of the majority of mankind. It is our enemy!
Workers’ Power, socialism, can provide what the corporations and
their Democratic and Republican cronies can never do – a “Golden
Parachute” for workers – a system run for the good of the majority that
will provide guaranteed employment at living wages and safe jobs,
cradle to grave quality healthcare, child and elder care for all, free
education from pre-school through adulthood, leisure time and the
opportunity to live in peace, cooperation and harmony with each other
the world over.
Join with us in the Fight for Justice!
Revolutionary Organization of Labor, USA
(Formerly the Ray O. Light Group)
For Further Information contact:
Boxholder, 607 Boylston St., Lower Level Box 464
Boston, MA 02116 USA
Click here to return to the U.S.