Les Leopold  @  ChelseaGreen

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An Open Letter to the Ten Wealthiest Financiers in America: You're Not Worth $900,000 an Hour!

May 28th, 2010 by Les Leopold

On behalf of the 3 million young people who would have been their students, I have a proposition for you: Donate 50 percent of your 2009 earnings to keep those 150,000 teachers in their classrooms. Each of you, on average, still would net over $935 million dollars for the year (you should be able to scrape by on that) — and the money you'd forgo would ensure that 3 million kids would get an education.

Kiss Your Middle Cl…ass Good-bye?

May 21st, 2010 by Les Leopold

Wake up Congress! The financial reform bill you just passed won't protect us from economic chaos. Why? Because it fails to burst the mother of all bubbles — Wall Street itself.

Help! What's the Cure for Financial Insanity?

May 14th, 2010 by Les Leopold

Now that the bank lobbyists are nearly finished neutering the financial reform bill, it's time to face reality: our financial world will continue to be run by the very financiers who crashed the system two years ago. The bankers' arguments ricocheting through the halls of Congress make it seem as if our financial system is basically rational and sound — that only a few flaws need fixing. That's lunacy. Our bright bankers may be rational as individuals, but collectively they perpetuate a fractured system gone utterly mad… and getting madder every day.

Is Warren Buffett Main Street's Benedict Arnold?

May 7th, 2010 by Les Leopold

Those were some wise words from Warren Buffett, the Will Rogers of the financial world. He used to say such things at his stockholder meetings, where tens of thousands come to savor his homilies and celebrate their own good fortune–a kind of Woodstock for people who dig money more than sex, drugs and rock n roll. His fans love to party with the iconic multi-billionaire from Omaha with the sparkle in his eyes. The guy makes people feel proud to be Americans and capitalists, big and small.

Why Do We Save Billionaires, but Not Teachers?

April 30th, 2010 by Les Leopold

This week thousands of New Jersey public school students walked out of class to protest draconian school budget cuts. "Save my teacher," their signs read. In a state that is home to a bevy of high finance billionaires, with the highest per capita income in the nation, teachers are being sacked left and right. In our town half the student body protested outside the high school. Perhaps the protesters should turn their eyes towards the twenty-five top hedge fund honchos who took in $25 billion in 2009. Their "earnings" alone could fund 658,000 entry level teachers.

Will the Real Obama Please Stand Up for Reform? Six Ways to Know if the Financial Reforms Are for Real

April 23rd, 2010 by Les Leopold

Now, in the wake of the Goldman Sachs lawsuit, is a golden moment for President Obama to rein in Wall Street — and let the American public know whose side he's really on. But it seems he's working from a flawed theory: "There is no dividing line between Main Street and Wall Street. We are all in this together as one nation." Really?

The Goldman Sachs Scam Reveals the Rot in our Financial System

April 19th, 2010 by Les Leopold

As the Goldman Sachs case unfolds, we will be tempted to focus exclusively on the fraud charges. After all, it sure looks as if Goldman Sachs failed to disclose that it was selling assets that were selected to fail by hedge fund honcho John Paulson, who then bet against the securities in order make a quick billion, while the investors lost an equal amount. The debate is likely to center on who should be charged with what.

Does Dow 11,000 mean total Victory for Wall Street?

April 16th, 2010 by Les Leopold

Now that the Dow is shooting past 11,000, Congress has the perfect excuse to pass a pathetic set of watered down financial reforms. The heated arguments between Democrats and Republicans are for political show. The bankers already have won.

Why Are 25 Hedge Fund Managers Worth 658,000 Teachers?

April 9th, 2010 by Les Leopold

In 2009, the worst economic year for working people since the Great Depression, the top 25 hedge fund managers walked off with an average of $1 billion each. With the money those 25 people "earned," we could have hired 658,000 entry level teachers. (They make about $38,000 a year, including benefits.) Those educators could have brought along over 13 million young people, assuming a class size of 20. That's some value.

Slaughterhouse '10: The Gutting of State and Local Government

March 26th, 2010 by Les Leopold

This post originally appeared on The Huffington Post.
The Jeffersonian anti-federalists feared that a strong national government would lead our fledgling nation back towards monarchy. Instead they wanted government closer to the people where it would better serve their interests rather than interests of the moneyed merchants and traders.
That not good enough for Tea Party and [...]