Wall Street bets big on long odds in American Casino

Written by Dory Rand on August 18, 2009 - 10:57am

American Casino, an expose of the mortgage foreclosure crisis, features revealing interviews with Wall Street power brokers and other major players, detailing how a vast fortune was built largely on the trust of lower-wealth and minority first-time home buyers whose lives and neighborhoods are now devastated.

This film puts a human face on the increasingly grim foreclosure statistics and shows how reliance on free market ideology alone and lack of regulation got us into this mess. The examples of unregulated brokers, ratings agencies, investment firms, banks and other players cashing in alongside regulators who failed to protect consumers and require accountability from the financial sector demonstrate why Americans need financial reform and an agency dedicated to consumer protection.
 
Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan appeared at the Chicago premiere of the film on August 14 and participated in a question and answer session afterwards with the audience. Madigan described litigation her office is pursuing against some of the worst predatory lenders, including Countrywide and Wells Fargo. She also supported Woodstock Institute’s call to action on consumer protection, urging citizens to contact Illinois Representatives Melissa Bean and David Foster, who serve on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee, in support of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (H.R. 3126).
 
Woodstock Institute encourages you to see American Casino and take action to create a financial system in which lower-wealth persons and communities can achieve economic security and community prosperity. For talking points or sample comment letters, please contact Tom Feltner at tfeltner@woodstockinst.org.
 
American Casino is showing in Chicago at the Gene Siskel Film Center through August 20 and at theaters across the country.