Opinion: Angry taxpayers burn bank execs in effigy, demand end to using bailout dollars to fight bank reform

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Remember those summer protests against healthcare reform, when angry conservatives overwhelmed congressional town hall meetings with accusations that President Obama was a closet socialist?

Well, apparently the Right does not have a lock on voter rage.

Today, for the third day in a row, taxpayers, mobilized against the big banks for taking $17.8 trillion in government bailout money and then using some of it to lobby against reforms, are gathering at the American Bankers Assn.'s annual meeting in Chicago.

True, these are organized protests, spearheaded by the Service Employees International Union and other advocacy groups that support the White House effort to enact reforms.


Still, the protesters are making a splash. Yesterday they took over the lobby of Goldman Sachs headquarters in the Windy City, demanding the dismantling of banks deemed ‘too big to fail.’

And Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin joined the protests, urging voters ‘to push back’ against the business lobby’s efforts to fight financial reform.

Inside the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers, industry officials defended their practices. ‘You did not make any abusive subprime loans; you did not take big bonuses for products that later blew up,’ ABA President Edward Yingling said during his opening remarks, blaming a few bad apples for last fall’s financial collapse. ‘We can never again let bad actors and bad policies create a financial disaster.’

-- Johanna Neuman

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