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Wall Street vs. Workers

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) delivered these remarks at the opening of the Senate Banking Committee hearing on March 4, 2021.

Senator Sherrod Brown

Senator Sherrod Brown

“The economy isn’t physics – it’s not governed by scientific laws outside our control. It’s made up of people making choices about our values and what kind of society we want to live in. Despite what we’re constantly told on TV, most Americans share a lot of the same values – they want an economy that’s fair and just, where hard work pays off for everyone, no matter who you are or what kind of work you do, and where everyone has the economic security to raise a family and retire with dignity.

“But when you look at our economy, it doesn’t reflect the society most of us want. You can’t look at decades of growing productivity, with workers getting a smaller and smaller share of the profits they create, and think the economy looks fair. You can’t look at a racial wealth and income gap that has barely budged since we passed the Civil Rights Act, and think the economy looks just, or that we all have equal opportunity. You can’t look at the millions of Americans whose hard work doesn’t even pay the bills, while corporate profits go up, CEO pay soars, and stock buybacks and dividends explode, and think that this economy reflects our values.

“This state of affairs didn’t happen on its own, and it wasn’t just the invisible hand of the markets. For decades, Wall Street interests – big banks, hedge funds, private equity firms, and insurance companies – have been calling the shots – through their lobbyists, through rigged rules, through union-busting. We’ve left it to them to shape our entire economy, and make choices about our values and what kind of society we live in.


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