By Zach Carter
The HuffPost (4/22/18)
If an ordinary person committed any of the abuses listed in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s latest complaint against Wells Fargo, other ordinary people might call it “theft,” or “car theft.”
Alas, Wells Fargo is only considered an ordinary person when it spends money on elections. The rest of the time, it is a too-big-to-fail bank, and improperly relieving its customers of their automobiles is just one of a few “unfair acts and practices” to which it neither admitted nor denied when it agreed to settle a federal investigation on Friday.
But the bank will pay a very high price for these alleged misdeeds ― $1 billion, the highest the CFPB has ever imposed against a financial institution.
The bill, authored by one of the consumer bureau’s most ferocious critics, Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wis.), is backed by self-styled progressives Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.).
The CFPB’s description of Wells Fargo’s behavior is breathtaking. The company “forcibly placed duplicative or unnecessary insurance on hundreds of thousands” of vehicles owned by customers who had taken out a car loan with the bank. This not only resulted in a typical charge of “over $1,000” to which these customers had never agreed, but “for at least 27,000 customers,” the bureau wrote, “the additional costs of the Force-Placed Insurance could have contributed to a default that resulted in the repossession of their vehicle.”
Stripping away consumer protections
In a better world, the Federal Reserve would prevent serial offender banks like Wells Fargo from existing, and the Department of Justice would prosecute mass car theft as a crime. But it is at least good that a federal regulator exists to levy fines against these outrages and give restitution to wronged families. The CFPB has only been around a few years, but prior to the Wells Fargo settlement, it had returned about $12 billion in ill-gotten gains to American consumers ― a figure that is considerably higher after its biggest-ever settlement.
The bureau is a creation of the Democratic Party, signed into law by President Barack Obama and designed by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Yet some congressional Democrats are joining Republicans supporting legislation that consumer advocates say would strip the CFPB of the power to bring cases like the one it just settled with Wells Fargo. …
Ron Kind Falls Into Line With Koch Brothers & Votes For ‘Balanced’ Budget Amendment
By Mark L. Taylor
The Commoner Call (4/23/18)
Unbeknownst to most Wisconsin democrats, third congressional district Rep. Ron Kind was one of only seven quisling house democrats to recently vote for one of the Koch brothers’ legislative wet dreams — a balanced budget amendment that would hamstring congress into making huge cuts on earned benefits like Medicare and put the Social Security trust in jeopardy.
This was not just some minor slip on some obscure budget item. This was a vote to decimate one of the bedrock principles of the democratic party legacy. Ron Kind — supposedly our representative — voted to plant a time bomb in the earned benefits programs that Americans have worked for and earned. So who, one must ask, was Ron Kind voting for on this bill? Understand, it wasn’t you.
Fortunately, the bill didn’t get the two-thirds needed to pass, but you can damn well bet it will come around again and my guess is Ron Kind will take the call and obediently vote to auction off your future again.
If you get a chance to ask him about it and give a little heat, do so. He needs to hear we in the third CD do not take to his open treason to our needs and interests lightly.
Here’s some background information on the full implications of the balanced budget amendment…
233 Members Of Congress (Including Ron Kind) Just Voted To Steal Social Security’s $2.9 Trillion Surplus
Social Security Works (4/19/18)
(Washington, DC) — The following is a statement from Nancy Altman, President of Social Security Works, in reaction to nearly every Republican member of the House of Representatives, as well as seven Democrats, voting for a Constitutional amendment requiring that all annual revenue and spending balance every year:
“Every pay period, starting with our first jobs, America’s workers contribute to Social Security. The program uses those funds to pay all benefits and related administrative costs. Social Security does not add even a penny to the deficit, as Republican President Ronald Reagan so clearly stated when he was president.
When Social Security runs a surplus, Social Security holds the funds in trust. Social Security currently has a $2.9 trillion accumulated surplus. In the guise of a so-called balanced budget amendment, 233 members of the House of Representatives just voted to pretend that the accumulated surplus does not exist.
Ninety-seven percent of Republicans just voted to steal those past contributions. They voted, in effect, to not pay back hardworking Americans when those funds will be needed to pay their earned benefits. (Ninety-six percent of Democrats voted to honor their commitment to the American people.)
That 233 politicians would vote to steal this money is shameful. It helps explain the low regard the American people have for Congress. Fortunately for Social Security beneficiaries, the amendment did not attain the two-thirds majority required to pass the House. But those who voted for it are now on the record in support of stealing the American people’s earned Social Security benefits.”
(Commoner Call cartoon by Mark L Taylor, 2017. Open source and free for non-derivative use with link to www.thecommonerall.org )