It is the total sellout of Main Street and our country as a whole that's been all but concluded before our very eyes. To call it anything less than that would be inaccurate reportage.
It's beyond disgusting, IMHO. Words cannot convey my sense of contempt...that to which we're bearing witness today. It is the definition of betrayal. I'm talking about this...
Late this past evening (and now into this morning), it is being reported in both the Washington Post and the New York Times that any remaining semblance of significant financial regulatory reform--the proposed establishment of an independent Consumer Finance Protection Agency--is now little more than a pipe dream. Stick a fork in it. Oh yeah, and let us not forget that it's the ultimate "f*ck you" to one of the few remaining progressive heroes even tangentially associated with our government, today, Elizabeth Warren.
The headline starts off with "Obama may compromise..." But, this is as much--if not moreso--about the Senate. We all know it, too.
Folks, as far as regulatory reform of our nation's financial system was concerned, these were the very last things on which we had not completely compromised.
What we're left with is little more than a system that is even more corrupt now than it was before. There is NOTHING good to say about this. At all.
Nothing. (And, if you're going to sit around apologizing for this, I would suggest you read this pathetic article to understand just how bad the situation really is. The propaganda is nothing less than over-the-top.)
Obama may compromise on consumer agency to pass financial regulation
By David Cho and Brady Dennis
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 25, 2010
The Obama administration is no longer insisting on the creation of a stand-alone consumer protection agency as a central element of the plan to remake regulation of the financial system.
President Obama's economic team is now open to housing the consumer regulator inside another agency, such as the Treasury Department, though they still prefer a stand-alone agency. In either case, they are insisting on a regulator with political autonomy and real teeth so it can effectively enforce rules designed to protect consumers of mortgages, credit cards and other financial products.
For more on this, a lede from Thursday's NY Times: "Finance Bill Compromise Appears Likely."
Yeah, right. Uh, huh. Spare me the bullsh*t. (Yeah, I've never been this upset when writing a diary here, so I'm keeping it brief.)
THE VOLCKER RULE? STICK A FORK IN IT.
The same WaPo piece that explains to us how Senate Democrats have, once again, totally caved-in to Wall Street on the CFPA also reminds us that any effort to curtail proprietary trading within our nation's banks (a/k/a "The Volcker Rule") is now little more than history, too.
...The administration may also have to compromise on Obama's recent proposal for a rule to limit risky activities at banks by prohibiting them from engaging in many kinds of speculative investments.
Treasury officials are preparing to send Capitol Hill a toughly worded measure that would bar banks from making certain investments that benefit only the firms' bottom line rather than their customers. But there is little support among either Democratic or Republican lawmakers for this proposal, known as the "Volcker rule," and Senate leaders are now closing ranks around legislation that would leave it to banking regulators, rather than the law, to decide which activities to ban...
For more on this, here's Naked Capitalism's take: "Volcker Rule Being Deep Sixed."
AND, THE "RESULTS" OF THE "REGULATORY REFORM" EFFORT OVER THE PAST YEAR? HERE ARE JUST A COUPLE OF TYPICAL EXAMPLES/BYPRODUCTS OF WHAT'S ACTUALLY BEEN "ACCOMPLISHED"...
1.) The effort to reign in the egregious behavior of the largest of our banks--those with national charters--included relaxing "PREEMPTION" regulations, allowing the already-insolvent, too-big-to-fail banks to run roughshod over the much more effective state regulators. So, now, every major bank has been given a license to--for all intents and purposes--become a predatory, payday lender.
Yes, for a mere 500% annual percentage rate ("A.P.R."), you may now overdraw your checking account!
Banks May Use Payday-Style Loans to Replace Lost Overdraft Fees
By Jeff Plungis
Feb. 23 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. banks may expand their short- term lending at interest rates of 120 percent or more as they seek to replace more than $15 billion in lost revenue because of regulations limiting overdraft fees.
Banks including Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bancorp, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo & Co., the fourth-largest U.S. bank, and U.S. Bancorp, based in Minneapolis, are already making such loans, usually from $100 to $500, at annual rates of 120 percent if repaid in 30 days. They're known as "checking advance products." That puts them in competition with so-called payday loan stores, which make loans with similar terms to customers who generally don't have credit cards to bridge the gap until the check comes, according to Rowe, whose firm advises banks.
The banks don't call the advances payday loans because it's a "very tarnished, negative brand," said Rowe, who estimates U.S. banks may lose from $15 billion to $20 billion in revenue when Federal Reserve rules take effect July 1. The rules will prohibit banks from charging overdraft fees at automated teller machines or on debit cards unless a customer has agreed to pay for exceeding account balances.
The article continues on to tell us this is actually "...worse than going to a payday store," according to Lauren Saunders, managing attorney with the National Consumer Law Center in Washington. Just in case you forgot, Ms. Saunders reminds us: "A bank has direct access to consumer accounts, meaning its loans will be paid off first, ahead of food, housing or utilities..."
Yes, the article also informs us that the banks need to "replace the income" they're losing due to Congress' efforts to "crackdown" on overdraft fees.
Unfortunately, someone forget to remind the reporter--and our congress when they engineered this godforsaken piece of "reform" legislation--that "the banks are replacing their income" with what little we have left of OUR income, dammit!
2.) And, here's more on what's happening in the financial markets as it relates to the grand, sovereign debt casino; just in case we thought that derivatives reform would have any effect, whatsoever, on Wall Street's morally hazardous behavior...which also happens to be doing more to undermine our country's international reputation than most here in the U.S. could ever comprehend. From the front page of Thursday's NY Times:
Banks Bet Greece Defaults on Debt They Helped Hide
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ and ERIC DASH
Published: February 24, 2010 Published In Print: February 25, 2010
Bets by some of the same banks that helped Greece shroud its mounting debts may actually now be pushing the nation closer to the brink of financial ruin.
The police in Greece pushed back against demonstrators on Wednesday as unions staged a one-day general strike to protest austerity measures by the government to reduce its deficit.
Echoing the kind of trades that nearly toppled the American International Group, the increasingly popular insurance against the risk of a Greek default is making it harder for Athens to raise the money it needs to pay its bills, according to traders and money managers...
Yes, I'm really just about more disgusted than I 've ever been when it comes to the sense of betrayal I feel coming from members of the (my) so-called "Democratic" Party.
Welcome to the final chapter of "The Quiet Coup."
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