The Walmart cycle.

               One meme or article after another tells us to avoid Walmart. Which is absolutely right! They subsidize their company by paying low wages, thereby forcing their employees to receive Federal Benefits. That alone costs American tax payers billions of dollars a year. Not to mention the money they receive from Federal and State governments to build stores or warehouses in their areas or the tax breaks and tax havens they use to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

The Walton family are worth a couple hundred billion dollars. While making these billions of dollars they bemoan employees who ask for a higher wage or the right to unionize. All the while purchasing product from China, a Communist dictatorship that not only manipulates their currency but also subsidizes their companies. The Walton maintain that if they raise pay, they have to raise prices. While saying this they reap profits that have rarely been seen in American history.

Now here is the conundrum. The average person making even $12 an hour is that they do not have alot of disposable income. Electric, gas, phone, taxes and even sewer have all seen precipitous increases, all while this person has been stuck at $12 an hour. A family of 4, with mom and dad both working, will in many cases qualify for Federal Benefits. The failure of corporations to raise peoples pay while making record profits has presented these people with a pickle. Do I shop at a cheaper store and get more or shop at more expensive and get less. Where does this leave them?

At a time when Americans need more help then at possibly any time in our history, we have also found ourselves in a period of hyper-polarization. While these people need help, Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Federal Benefits while cutting taxes for the wealthy. Democrats led by Elizabeth Warren are trying to extend unemployment benefits, raise taxes on the wealthy, reel in to big to fail and fix income inequality. Bernie Sanders, the only Independent who really matters, my little joke, is fighting along many of the same fronts as Elizabeth Warren. It has become class warfare. Rich saying the poor dont work hard enough and poor asking for a fair share. All of this while 47 million Americans are on Food Stamps because of low pay or no jobs.

Here is where it comes full circle. These people on the bottom end up shopping at Walmart because of their low pay. By shopping at Walmart they are putting people like themselves out of work, as well as giving the Waltons a false sense that their model is a good thing. The person shopping there doesn’t want to do these things, but what company can compete with a monolithic corporation like Walmart. Of course it would be another corporation. What option do these people have? Even if you dont shop at Walmart, the majority of products are made somewhere else.

Advertisements

Despite crippling the economy, big banks continue dirty practices.

                  5 years since the Financial Crash that decimated our economy. 3 years after President Obama signed the Dodd/Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. Despite all the damage these banks have done, they are still scamming and ripping off their customers. We have heard about a list of abuses and frauds, that ranged from small things, like hidden fees, to pushing minorities into subprime loans and then switching them to more expensive mortgages at signing time. To selling trillions of dollars of derivatives and making bets on the derivative without having the reserves to pay off what they owed.

No CEOs were prosecuted and banks were allowed to settle a host of charges. Shifting the burden of fines onto the shareholders. Elizabeth Warren has demanded action from Congress, despite meeting stiff resistance from Republicans. So of course the dirty practices continue, putting homeowners and our economy at risk.

Bank Protection Services put consumers at greater risk of harm. Big banks are still scamming their customers with high fees that create a huge profit for banks. Dodd/Frank required banks to ask customers if they can charge them for overdraft protection. People who opt out of this service pay alot less than those who use it. Banks have made $32 billion from these fees.

Transaction Ordering is forced arbitration clauses on a bank account. These require you to give up your legal right to take big banks to court if it cheats or harms you. If you don’t agree, you cannot get the account. It is also called mandatory arbitration and binding arbitration.

Marketing Refinancing that costs people. Banks are marketing a refinancing scheme that promises annual savings of more than $4,000. The scheme really just adds more than $37,000 to the loan. The idea is the focus on lowering monthly mortgage payments. But it gives the owner a higher overall interest rate and adds another 10 years to the loan.

Banks are trying to kill the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The CFPB polices the big banks and protects financial consumers. Republicans have been hired by banks to obstruct and kill this agency. Republicans have blocked confirmations and are obstructing the nominee to head the agency. Republicans Filibustered the nomination of Richard Cordray and vowed to Filibuster any nominee to head the agency. They have also launched a propaganda campaign against the CFPB. Calling it unaccountable and unrestrained.

This us a common theme over the last 5 years. Republicans working as lobbyists for the wealthy. While Democrats try to enforce laws, Republicans help the wealthy and corporations circumvent the laws. This is why Congress is gridlocked. Republicans hate of Obama has decimated any progress and have hurt the American people because of spitefulness.

Republicans outright refusal to work with Elizabeth Warren and Democrats to stop Student Loan rates from doubling.

               College students taking out new loans in the fall are going to see interest rates double what they were yesterday. Republicans outright refusal to work with Democrats is disconcerting. Elizabeth Warren proposed the Bank on Students Loan Fairness Act. Republicans say the low rates given to banks are different than Student Loans.

Subsidized Stafford Loans went from 3.4% to 6.8%. Government profits from Student Loans range anywhere from $5.5 billion to $36 billion or $.42 cents per dollar loaned, to a little over $.05 cents per every dollar loaned. Either way this was before the increase. Different papers are downplaying the significance, but these loans are typically paid over a long period and put our college students in a hole for quite a few years. Banks pay much lower rates, even after decimating our economy, refusing to give loans and the dirty mortgage practices that come out almost daily, yet Republican lawmakers defend the banks vociferously.

During last years Presidential race both parties vowed to take action on this issue. President Obama wants to offer it at the 10 year treasury rate plus .93% and students can cap their payment at 10% of income. House Republicans want to give a superlow rate and then it would adjust at a later date up to 8.5%, effectively 2 and 1/2 times more than now. Senate Republicans are at about 6.5% and Senate Democrats are offering the governments short term lending rate plus an additional percentage suggested by the Department of Education. Elizabeth Warren’s plan would lend at .75% short term loan rate that banks pay the Federal Reserve. It is only a year long fix.

The real issue here is that Republicans are willing to run students over the coals, while refusing to raise taxes on the wealth and refusing to take measures against banks predatory practices. The hypocrisy of the Republican party comes to the forefront again. Elizabeth Warren was trying to get this done several months ago, apparently Congress can only work on one issue at a time. I guess one issue at a time makes it harder to get a bill to help the people through. Republicans, the party of the wealthy for the wealthy.

Bank of America lies to homeowners in order to foreclose on them.

              Bank of America, one of the nations largest mortgage servicers, intentionally, knowingly and routinely falsifies paperwork and lies to homeowners in order to remove them from their homes. This is according to Banking Industry insiders and former employees. The latest in the growing list of Civil Suits against BOA has produced affadavits from 6 former employees alleging the bank actively and systematically decieved homeowners and sought foreclosures over modifications that would have kept people in their homes.

A seventh signed affidavit from an employee who worked for one of the bank’s contractors, reinforces the picture of a company wide culture of profits over people. Even a blatant defiance of facts. The banks handling of foreclosures and home loan modifications has drawn the ire of the Federal Government. The documents are part of a lawsuit over the bank’s handling of trial loan modifications under the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), created by the Obama administration. The employees, who worked anywhere from loan origination to collections to reviewing internal loan databases, contend that BOA used a variety of internal policies to discourage loan modifications. The bank encouraged foreclosures, even when loan documents showed the bank’s reasons for foreclosing were untrue.

Blitzing was one method BOA used. Twice a month they instructed case managers to deny any HAMP application more than 60 days old, regardless of whether the information was complete or not. BOA gave $500 bonuses for filling forclosure quotas. An employee who placed 10 or more accounts into foreclosure in a given month got a $500 bonus. They also gave gift cards to Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond for rewards. BOA lied to clients about documentation. Bank policy was to sit on financial documents for 30 days, then label them stale, then require homeowners to reapply.

The sum of allegations is that the bank falsifies documents and knowingly forclosed on borrowers who were in full compliance with modification plans. HAMP, was the Democrats and President Obama’s biggest initiative to the foreclosure crisis. It should have helped 800,000 more people than it did. BOA has already spent $45 billion to settle claims tied to its takeover of Countrywide Financial Corp. Despite settlements like BOA’s, the government has prosecuted more protesters than it has banks, and abuses continue.

The manipulation of the program depicted in these affidavits is more evidence that direct principal reduction would be a more effective use of government housing funds than HAMP’s attempted partnership with banks. Senator Elizabeth Warren has been attacking banks about their shady practices. She has been met with terrific resistance by the Republican party. It seems that they support corporate greed.

House passes a bill that will lead to another financial collapse.

           The House passed a bipartisan written bill that allows banks to avoid new financial rules by operating overseas. Financial Reformers are happy about one thing- most Democrats voted against the bill. This signals a rocky road ahead for similar efforts to scale back new rules on banks. This also makes the bills passage in the Democrat led Senate less likely.

The bill in question, the Swap Jurisdiction Certainty Act was introduced earlier this year. It would exempt foreign arms of U.S. Banks from the new regulations on derivatives that are required by the Dodd/Frank Act. The bill was introduced as an effort to stem governnent over reach.

The House Financial Services Committee passed the bill just a few weeks ago, 11 Democrats voted against it and 0 Republicans out of the 61 member committee. Wall St. reformers and their allies in Congress rallied the troops, changing some minds. 122 out of 195 Democrats voted against it and 2 Republicans voted against it. It passed 301-124, these people will never learn or maybe never care.

Past moves to weaken financial regulations have recieved strong bipartisan support. Obviously that has changed, more Democrats than not will support Financial Reform. The fact Democrats are willing to deny Wall St. of their wishes and oppose the bill may help regulators resolve in doing their jobs. Reformers are hopeful Democrat objection to the bill could impede other attacks on the rules governing U.S. Banks foreign operations.

Wall St. is spending a lot of money lobbying regulators to weaken the Dodd/Frank regulations. Others worry about the financial industry trying to roll back regulations on foreign operations through a giant free trade deal being negotiated. Europe is calling U.S. regulations proposed overseas rules to aggressive. The deregulation of U.S. Banks overseas operations may cause them to concentrate business in less regulated foreign markets. Almost every major financial scandal involving derivatives has included trades conducted through a foreign entity. This sounds like a sound policy if we are trying to hurt the economy.

Before you know it our financial system will be in the crapper. Too Big To Fail Banks will again be at the forefront of the collapse. We will have to bail out these reckless businesses again. These banks should have been broken up and made to stay away from derivatives. But the amount of lobbying money us too much for Congress to pass up, even if it cripples our country. Greedy sods like this have cost the American people one to many times. Elizabeth Warren might be our last hope at protection, hopefully President Obama will support her.

Republicans need to get their priorities straight.

                 Republicans have the nations attention focused on the IRS and NRA “scandals”. While they have our attention, other very important things are slipping by. The Banking industry’s dirty practices are coming to the forefront, but no one is listening. They are concentrating on subjects that should be resolved but Republicans are hiding the truth.

                Bank of America’s practices are coming out and they are dirty. They were taking bribes to delay paperwork to cost homeowners more money. Telling homeowners they didn’t recieve the paperwork, delaying their applications for HARP, causing them to be denied. These illegal practices led to illegal foreclosures that cost real people their homes. But apparently this is not important to the Republican party, who are to concerned with finding a way to impeach President Obama. That is solid governing skills right there.

Every attempt at reforming the Banking Industry has been met with harsh resistance. Elizabeth Warren has made this her baby, she is attempting to fix it so average Americans don’t have to suffer at the hands of these wealthy banks. Republicans and even some Democrats are in the banks back pockets. Bank Industry lobbyist converge on the capital everytime Bank Reform comes up. Republicans are fine with the status quo, the American people are not. It is time for a change. The midterm 2014 elections are the key to change.

This has become a country where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. The Income Inequality in our country is one of the highest of all developed countries. The Republicans keep the attention off of important subjects in order to avoid them. Avoidance is not a form of government. Now Republicans want boots on the ground in Syria, another unnecessary war where Americans will die needlessly. Republicans didn’t support President Obama on Libya, where he achieved regime change with no American lives lost. The hypocritical Republicans need to govern, to compromise in order for this great country to remain great.

Elizabeth Warren introduces bill to have students pay same interest rates as big banks.

               Senator Elizabeth Warren introduces her first bill. Or is a simple proposal to give students the same loan rates as the nations biggest banks. Her proposal would allow the cut rate loans for students for one year, to give Congress time to cone to an agreement on a long term solution to interest rates. Federal Staffordshire subsidized loan rates for students are set to double on July 1 to 6.8%.

                Senator Warren said “If the Federal Reserve can float trillions of dollars to large financial institutions at low interest rates to grow the economy, then surely theyvcan float the Department of Education the money to fund our students. That can keep us competitive and growvthe middle class.”

             The proposal drew some blowback from the Banking Industry. Patrick Sine, a director in policy research at Hamilton Place Strategies, argued a short term loan from the discount window during a time of crisis is not comparable to a long term student loan. Some people have called for higher rates or penalties fir banks that access the discount window. The point of the funding is to prevent a liquidity crisis and is not how banks fund themselves over time.

             Senator Warren noted that large banks can currently borrow from the Federal Reserves discount window at a rate of about 0.75%. But when the rate for student loans increases it would be 9 times what banish pay. The same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke the economy are getting a break, but our students are getting comparatively fleeced.

           The CFPN, Warren’s brain child, said last year that student loan debt has topped $1 TRILLION. They warned of the dramatic effects on our economy if those borrowers cannot buy a home or save for retirement. Warren also noted the serious risk to economic recovery that student debt poses, that students ate just as important to economic growth as big banks. The impact on our economy would be devastating if a large amount of student loans defaulted. Warren dismissed the idea that the bill would be expensive. The Federal government earns 36 cents in profit on every dollar it lends to students. That will bring in a total of $34 billion next year.

           Of course Republicans are against this bill. They have sided with the Banking Industry on many issues leading before this, there is no sign that they will withdraw their support. Plus the Banking Industry has a strong lobbying presence in the capital, we saw what the NRA did with that. Republicans take the same stance as the banking industry. The bill will cost to much and that student loans are different than bank loans. Republicans tend to stand with the money and the Banking Industry has poured quite a bit of scratch into Republican coffers.

           After what the Banking Industry did leading up to the Great Recession we obviously need a person like Senator Warren to champion for the people. The banks need to be treated as any other citizen, remember Republicans believe corporations are people too. So those corporations should be subject to the same laws and not be protected by corporate laws.

Posted from WordPress for Android