AFT Resolution

TAKE ON WALL STREET

WHEREAS, due to the reckless practices of too-big-to-fail banks, foreclosures displaced thousands of our students and their families across the country; and

WHEREAS, foreclosure, or eviction from an apartment as a result of foreclosure, disrupts students’ lives as their families are forced to move. Students may have to change schools or even school districts, adjust to a different curriculum, and develop new relationships with teachers and peers; and

WHEREAS, research has shown that involuntary residential moves and within-year school switching can have detrimental effects on children’s academic and social development. Disruptive residential moves are linked to problems such as grade retention, failure to complete school and a lack of interpersonal skills; and

WHEREAS, many foreclosures, particularly those on rental properties that lead to sudden evictions of tenants, lead to homelessness. Almost 1,600 individuals—including families and youth—are homeless in St. Paul, Minnesota’s Ramsey County each night. Nearly half of those homeless people are people 21 and younger; and

WHEREAS, racially discriminatory practices in home lending have concentrated the impact of the home foreclosure crisis on African-American and Latino families; and

WHEREAS, these discriminatory practices persist today: High-income, non-white borrowers are still more likely to have loan modification requests denied than low-income whites, and refinancing of subprime loans is far less available in diverse and majority non-white neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, those foreclosures, as well as other financial catastrophes suffered by millions of Americans created unprecedented need for public services; and

WHEREAS, the narrative of austerity serves Wall Street and directly contradicts the great wealth in this country and our capacity to create safety nets for our neighbors and our communities; and

WHEREAS, a handful of hedge fund managers make more money per year than all of the kindergarten teachers in America put together; and

WHEREAS, the five biggest banks are bigger now than they were before the financial collapse of 2008; and

WHEREAS, we pay sales taxes on everything we buy—from a gallon of gas to a bag of groceries—but Wall Street doesn't pay a single penny in transaction taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars of financial products they buy and sell every day; and

WHEREAS, the richest 1 percent has captured 90 percent of all income growth since the recovery began; and

WHEREAS, seven of the last nine treasury secretaries came from Wall Street banks—or went to work for one afterward; and

WHEREAS, the financial industry spends nearly $1 million per day lobbying members of Congress:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will commit to the Take on Wall Street coalition and work in community to:

  • Close the carried-interest loophole that lets billionaire Wall Street money managers pay lower tax rates than nurses or construction workers;
  • Create a Wall Street speculation tax that would discourage short-term bets and generate billions in new revenue to make college affordable, invest in our infrastructure and create jobs in our cities;
  • End “Too Big to Fail” by breaking up the big banks—making them smaller, simpler and safer;
  • Stop subsidizing million dollar CEO bonuses by ending the CEO pay tax loophole;
  • End predatory lending and also expand access to fair consumer banking services through “a public option” like postal banking; and
  • End foreclosures during the school year on families with school-age children.
(2017)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.