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Ellison Challenges Wall Street Apologists

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Calls Corporate Greed Shameful

Washington, D.C.  – Congressman Keith Ellison (D-Minneapolis) today challenged conservative lawmakers, pundits and opinion leaders on their premise that the financial crisis was caused by the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  The CRA was passed in 1977 and encouraged banks to boost lending in lower-income communities previously lacking access to financial resources.

"This is the height of chutzpah," Ellison stated.  "To suggest that the greatest financial crisis we face since the Great Depression was caused by legislation that was created to help PREVENT low-income individuals from assuming high-cost, subprime loans that have caused the crisis today is absurd.  To suggest that struggling families trying to keep their homes brought down the 'Titans of Commerce' – 'The Masters of the Universe' on Wall Street is ludicrous. To suggest someone who is raising three children while holding down two minimum wage jobs on a high school education was able to stall one of the greatest economic engines on earth needs their head examined," Ellison said.

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"Irresponsible and unregulated free market lending run amok got us into this fix today.  Executive salaries the size of third world economies, coupled with enormous compensation packages epitomizes the laissez faire policies of the past eight years under George W. Bush.  We are living a textbook example of a free and unfettered market failure.  It is a crisis that can only be addressed by government oversight and regulation," Ellison, a Member of the Financial Services Committee, said.

"If we do not succeed with this rescue package, we risk economic collapse – not only on Wall Street, but on Main Street as well.  If we fail, payrolls will not be met, construction projects will not be financed and jobs will be lost.  Six percent unemployment will seem like a walk in the park in comparison to the catastrophic consequences we will face.  Make no mistake about it, this package must be responsible, with both judicial and congressional oversight, have corporate accountability, contain taxpayer equity, and an investigation of how exactly the current crisis occurred." Ellison stated.

"And yet, we have some Republican apologists both inside and outside the Congress making disingenuous and outright untruthful arguments regarding the cause of this crisis – and the way out of it.  They actually argue for more of the same.  They want a $700 BILLION bailout with no strings attached; no regulation; no accountability; and no oversight.  And they are adamant about it."  Their insistence of a bailout on their terms or no bailout at all, is truly the height of corporate greed.  At a time of national crisis – and that is what this is – we, as Americans, pull together for the greater good – not the greater greed," Ellison concluded.

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