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Help Fight World Hunger This Thanksgiving

November 23rd, 2010

Here are two important things to do during your Thanksgiving holiday to help fight world hunger:

1) Take action to counteract the massive presence of Wall Street lobbyists in Washington working to insure their profits at the expense of people – call your Senators and ask them to prevent excessive speculation in commodity markets.

At a time when we stop to remember how thankful we are for food on our plates, let’s help make sure that this is a reality for people everywhere. In 2008, price bubbles in food and energy prices led to $4 gasoline in the U.S. and forced over 130 million people world-wide to go hungry, according to the UN. An important factor behind those price bubbles was excessive speculation in the food and energy commodity markets.

While the recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act took good steps to rein in speculation and bring common sense rules back to the commodity markets, Wall Street is working feverishly to undermine and weaken that law. You can help show regulators that Wall Street bankers are not the only ones interested in financial reform.

So, during the Thanksgiving holiday, please contact your Senators and ask them to vote to remove Section 201 from HR 4337/S 3948, the Bill to Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986

What is Section 201? Current rules require that 90 percent of investment gains realized by mutual funds must come from securities, and only 10 percent may be realized through alternative investments, such as commodity investments. Section 201 of HR 4337/S. 3948 would modify this restriction and allow commodity investments to be realized as part of the 90 percent. This could open a new floodgate to speculative dollars in essential commodities, such as food and energy, without thorough Congressional hearings or public debate on the potential harm of such a move.

This bill already passed the House by voice vote and is now being rushed through the Senate. Please call your Senator’s office before November 30 as the vote on the Bill to Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (HR 4337/S 3948) could happen next week. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators’ offices (make sure to call both), or call their local office.

2) Go to Maryknoll’s ‘Stop Gambling on Hunger’ website to send a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)

The issue: The CFTC is in the process of defining the details of how the Dodd-Frank bill will be enforced. Wall Street has thousands of lobbyists in DC working to water down the bill. Over 90% of the lobby visits to the CFTC have been from Wall Street banks, hedge funds and other financial players trying to get exemptions for their profiting. The letter you can send to the CFTC points out five key areas where the CFTC needs to stay strong.

The CFTC is accepting public comments until November 30, so please write to them now and encourage your friends and family to do the same during the Thanksgiving holiday.

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