Equifax doxed virtually every adult in America as well as millions of people in other countries like the UK and Canada. The breach was caused by an acquisition spree in which the company bought smaller competitors faster than it could absorb them, followed by negligence in both monitoring and responses to early warnings. — Read the rest
Mark Corbett has settled with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — founded by Elizabeth Warren and then gutted by Trump appointee and awful person Mick Mulvaney, now the White House Chief of Staff — over the complaints that he ran an illegal loan-sharking operation that swindled veterans out of their pensions for a decade. — Read the rest
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (previously) is practically the only US regulator we can be proud of — founded by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the Senate, the CFRB is a consumer protection agency that has been at the forefront of reining in criminal activities like Wells Fargo's nationwide frauds and Equifax's dox attack on the USA, as well as being the best defense Americans have against predatory loan-sharks masquerading as "payday lenders," abusive debt-collectors, racial discrimination in lending, and the student loan racket.
"Proactive credit line increases" (PCLIs) are when your credit card company increases your credit limit without your asking for it; it was very common prior to the 2008 crisis, but the post-crisis rules largely put a stop to it. Now, banks have figured out regulatory loopholes that allow them to throw PCLIs at their most vulnerable customers, leading to record-high national levels of credit-card debt of $880b as of last September, higher than the pre-crisis high.
In 2018, Katie Porter flipped a Republican safe seat — it had literally never been held by a Democrat– in California's 45th District, and since then, she has been a delightful, brilliant terror of a lawmaker, using her deep background in finance law (she's a tenured finance law prof at UC Irvine who literally wrote the textbook on consumer finance law in the wake of Dodd-Frank and Elizabeth Warren's establishment of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau).
Let there be light!
Known for its dark atmosphere, Disneyland's Blue Bayou restaurant (the one you see from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride) has finally added tiny lights to their menus. So, next time you dine there, you can keep your cell phone where it belongs and order food without its assistance. — Read the rest
Elizabeth Warren's bid for the Democratic 2020 presidential nomination has been dominated by a series of bold, detailed policy proposals that are designed to enact deep, structural changes in American law and policy to reverse 40 years of post-Reagan corruption and wealth accumulation by the richest 1%.
Sheelah Kolhatkar's 10,000 word New Yorker profile of Elizabeth Warren is mostly a "color piece," giving a sense of where Warren is coming from, personally and politically; as such, it's a good read, but mostly redundant if you've already read Warren's (very good) 2018 book This Fight Is Our Fight: The Battle to Save America's Middle Class; that said there's a couple of key political insights that are very timely for anyone trying to figure out whom to support in the Democratic presidential primary (I am a donor to both Warren's and Sanders's primary campaigns).
The payday lending industry is the pinnacle of predatory, corrupt capitalism, unabashed loan sharks who prey on the poorest and most desperate Americans, charging interest rates in the hundreds and even thousands of percent APR, using strongarm tactics including threats of violence and rape to collect on debts, and papering over the whole thing by flooding notice-and-comment proceedings with bot-generated comments and secretly bribing academics to write papers explaining that usury is a social good.
When Elizabeth Warren inaugurated the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, one of her prime targets was subprime/payday/predatory lenders; and the lenders' lobbyists went on an all-out blitz, eventually prevailing under Trump's CFPB boss Mick Mulvaney.
Grassroots Analytics is a small, obscure founded by Danny Hogenkamp, a 24-year-old who studied Arabic in college and had not been involved in politics until he joined the 2016 Congressional campaign of Colleen Deacon in Syracuse, a working-class single mom campaigning on economic justice issues.
Newt Gingrich's 1995 Republican Revolution dismantled all the expert departmentsand bureaus that Congress depended on to make sense of the world, making lawmakers dependent on corporate lobbyists to advise them on everything from pollution to food safety to military technology to mass surveillance — nearly 25 years later, Washington DC is a literal and figurative swamp, and only 18% of Americans say they trust Congress.
Trump's economic statistics are all about stock growth and low unemployment numbers, but more than two thirds of the US economy is driven by consumer spending, so if you want to know where we're headed, you should be looking at the average American's ability to buy things.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is Elizabeth Warren's gift that keeps on giving — one of the most effective US government agencies, handing out real punishment to banks that break the law, fighting loan-sharks that prey on poor people, and maintaining a database of vetted consumer complaints against banks that have ripped them off.
Wells Fargo defrauded 800,000 car loan borrowers, forcing 274,000 of them into bankruptcy and stealing ("wrongfully repossessing") 25,000 cars; they also ripped off mortgage borrowers by failing to send them their paperwork until after the deadline for filing it and then fining them for not filing it on time.
Following reports this week that Mick Mulvaney, Trump's new chief of the Consumer Finance Protection Board had stopped all activity related to probing the Equifax breach in which the sensitive financial data of virtually every adult American was stolen, 32 Democratic senators have written to Mulvaney demanding that he account for himself.
Mick Mulvaney, the former loan-shark lobbyist who killed plans to regulate payday lenders after being appointed chief of the Consumer Finance Protection Board, has effective abandoned the agency's efforts to punish Equifax for leaking the sensitive personal and financial information of at least 145,500,000 Americans.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, founded by Elizabeth Warren prior to her career as a senator, was once the gem of the US political system, a consistently effective force for punishing finance industry wrongdoing, until Trump let Wall Street robber barons loose on it, under the direction of a lawyer who represented loan sharks before going to work for the Trump administration.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a rare gem in the US financial regulatory apparatus, a regulator that actually tackles fraud and criminality by monied, powerful financial institutions, exacts meaningful penalties from them, and forces them to stop. They're one of the only things standing between you and highway robbery.
Senators Bob Corker, Jeff Flake and John McCain talk a big game about not letting the GOP be the handmaiden of trumpist corruption, but when the chips were down last night, they voted with their party and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Handmaid's Tale to pass legislation that lets financial institutions take away your right to sue them when they defraud you.