Today I want to play a special game I call Insights & Indictments Jeopardy!
It’s based on the classic T.V. game show where contestants vie to pose the correct “question” to the answers that are revealed in an array of categories.
For example, let’s say the category is “Federal Agencies.”
The first “answer” happens to be: “This new organization holds primary responsibility for regulating consumer protection in the United States.”
If you ring your buzzer first and shout out the question, “What is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?” you would be right.
Okay, let’s play Jeopardy!
Today our category is actually going to be the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB); see how many you can get right…
- The CFPB was founded as a result of this July 2010 Wall Street reform and consumer protection act, which was meant to save America from being used and abused by Wall Street crooks and bankers in the future.
- In a sign that the GOP mostly opposes new powers being granted to the CFPB, this is the number of Republican Senators who actually voted to enact the reform and consumer protection act.
- When the president nominates an appointee as director of the CFPB, the same act requires this kind of confirmation.
- This man’s appointment yesterday as CFPB director is controversial because he is being seated without the above confirmation
- This CEO of the American Bankers Association said Obama’s move to install the director without the required confirmation complicates efforts of banks, and puts the bureau’s actions “in constitutional jeopardy.”
- This Harvard law professor was the principal architect of the CFPB when she was an aide to President Obama and the Treasury Department.
- Interestingly, the director of the CFPB also gets a seat on the board of this powerful government-backed corporation.
- In the alarming situation I’ve just described, S.O.S. stands for this.
Got your answers? Let’s see how you did…
Give yourself half credit if you got any part of the long explanation correct and 100% credit if you got most of it right. If you get most of these, but stumble on the last one, don’t feel bad. (And you won’t, when you find out what it is.) But if you did get the last one right, and even if you didn’t get any of the other questions right, congratulations… you are the new champion.
Here are the correct “questions” (along with some explanations).
- What is Dodd-Frank? Great work. By the way, the CFPB was created under the Dodd-Frank Act to act as a supervisory and regulatory body over non-bank lenders (as well as traditional lenders), specifically to root out “unfair, deceptive, and abusive” practices.
- What is three GOP Senators? Look, I’m not picking on Republicans; I used to be a stalwart conservative myself. But really, how can you not vote to protect the American public from what everybody knows was caused mostly by Wall Street and shady non-bank operators’ greed?
- What is Senate confirmation? However, it is constitutionally legal for the president to seat a director without confirmation if the Senate is not in session to “advise and consult” and vote on the president’s nominees.
- Who is Richard Cordray? If you get that wrong, here are some extra clues… This former Ohio attorney general prosecuted banks, brokers, and insurance companies and won over $2 billion in judgments and settlements from them in a single year. Or how about: This man graduated Phi Beta Kappa, with law school honors, studied economics at Oxford, and is a five-time Jeopardy! champion himself (really!).
- Who is Frank Keating?
- Who is Elizabeth Warren? And too bad for Elizabeth, because she was expected to be – and was the most obvious and interested candidate to be – the director of the CFPB. Senate Republicans vowed to stymie her confirmation on the grounds that she would be too tough on their constituents (that would be the banks and money-lenders of last resort). Actually, Senate Republicans vowed to stymie the confirmation process for any Obama nominee on the grounds that they just don’t like any regulators messing with the free-for-all market they want lenders to enjoy. Of course, they say their opposition is about wanting a committee to run the CFPB (which they didn’t want in the first place), instead of a single director heading the bureau – the same bureau that they don’t want anyway; did I say that already?
- What is the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC)? Remember, the FDIC guarantees bank deposits at insured institutions, oversees banks as a regulator, and liquidates them when they go belly-up (and 92 banks did so in 2011). Back to Frank Keating of the ABA for a second. He went on to say, “Moreover, with this appointment, the President has also altered the composition of the board of the FDIC, potentially undermining its official acts.” There’s something that’s even more incendiary, given the brouhaha over Obama seating Cordray while the Senate is “technically” in session and are saying they have to confirm the nominee – even though they are not really at the Capitol at all, but are on vacation. As Keating points out (or maybe “threatens” would be a better way of putting it), this is happening at the “same time that the FDIC appointments, including that of its chairman, are pending in Congress.” Can you see where this is going?
- There are two correct answers to this one. What is save our souls or the same old shoot?
And if this political infighting isn’t bad enough, it’s now about to get even worse… before it gets even “worser” as we wend our way into the election year ahead…
There’s going to be huge legal fight over Obama’s seating of Cordray – a legal fight that could end up with Constitutional challenges. So it’s not going to be resolved easily.
But seriously, the Dodd-Frank Act is the law of the land (at least the parts that have been written). And what’s wrong with having a CFPB to protect the American public from unfair, deceptive, and abusive acts perpetrated on us all by the likes of banks, mortgage brokers, credit card issuers, student loan shysters, credit reporting agencies, payday lenders, and debt collectors?
As if the director of the CFPB is going to become the almighty and undermine free markets…?
Come on, seriously.
Can’t you just smell the lobbyists and bankers in the wings cooking up filthy lies about how we are ceding our freedoms to regulators who want to bind us to a socialist model that undermines free will and the American dream? After all, they know something about that, since it happens to be their objective, only with their own oligarchy at the top of the heap.
We need the CFPB. And we don’t need the same old shoot from politicians.
You don’t believe me? You disagree?
Then tell me if you think this next little practice is wrong… (It’s something that is happening a lot these days, and it’s something right up the alley of the CFPB to jump on.)
More and more, credit cards are being sent to folks who have bad credit because they didn’t pay off old charges.
The new cards are being offered to a lot of down-and-out folks desperate for some form of credit. Have you tried buying something lately without a credit card?
As an aside, I went to pay with cash for a purchase the other day, and they asked to see my I.D. Is that crazy or what? Okay, that was a joke… even though our currency having being depreciated for so long is no joke at all.
Anyway, it turns out that debt collectors are teaming up with credit card issuers to give credit cards to needy Americans.
But there’s a catch.
To get the credit card, you have to pay something towards an old debt.
Sometimes the come-on for these new cards is couched in the typical “Balance Transfer Program” rhetoric. Only, they’re not transferring your high-interest debt on another card to the new card, they’re transferring your old, unpaid debt onto a new card.
The thing is that in all states there exists a statute of limitations on your unpaid credit card debts. It ranges from three to 10 years, depending on the state. If you haven’t paid (naturally your credit is destroyed) after the statute of limitations expires, your debt is wiped out. You don’t owe it anymore. That may be a moral failing, but it is the law.
However, if you agree to make a payment on your old debt, the statute of limitations starts over from that new payment date.
Of course, debt collectors certainly aren’t telling people that they are “re-aging” (the industry term) their old debts, bringing them back to life, even if they were past the statute of limitations and you legally didn’t owe them any more.
Seriously, this is going on. It’s abuse, and it targets the same folks who have had a hard enough time and are trying to get their lives back on some economic track.
But, whatever, we don’t need any Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, we’re better off dealing with the same old shoot fired at us by banks and politicians. Right?
This isn’t a game; if we keep letting the same old shoot to knock us down time and time again, we really are in very serious “jeopardy.”
Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights! (Thank you, Bob Marley.)
Happy New Year indeed!