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.

Austerity, the Republican destruction of our country.

      Austerity measures have been used for several years in Europe. The Austerity measures have crippled many of the economy’s. Greece is a shining example of the damage Austerity does. They needed to be bailed out by the rest of the European countries. There were protests because of the measures that were being taken and the effect it was having on the people.

The fact that Republicans do not see the example Europe set for us is disturbing. Republicans only wish to use Austerity on programs they don’t like. The Austerity measures they fight for are a blatant attack on the poor and middle class. They support cutting aid to the SNAP program but refuse to raise taxes anymore. The Bush Tax Cuts have cost us over $3 trillion, their support of Corporate Welfare cost us $200 billion in 2012 alone. Food Stamps cost us $80 billion a year and for every dollar spent on Food Assistance Programs returns $1.84 to the economy.

They want to cut safety net programs, yet found a 5.8% increase for the Pentagon, which isn’t even asking for it. They want to cut Food Stamps by 25%, yet find another 3% to help subsidize fossil fuel programs. While doing that they want to cut the alternative energy budget in half to $1 billion. These cuts are selective and aimed at businesses that do not contribute to Republican campaigns.

Austerity itself doesn’t work, but selective Austerity has less of a chance of working. The Sequester itself has been a drag on our economy and jobs. It seems as if Republicans are pulling for failure, anything to hurt the Democrats and President Obama. The fiscal and foreign policies of the last administration has done some irrepairable damage to our country. It is going to take many years to repair what can be fixed and a balanced spending cut , tax raising policies. Otherwise we will be stuck in the mud for many years.

Republicans kill the Veterans Jobs bill, good enough to die for them but not good enough to help.

                  To put it blatantly, the Republicans screwed our veterans again. Last one was a few months ago when the Republican Sequester killed the Military Tuition Assistance Program. This time is even worse and a serious thumb in the eye of our veterans. This time they stopped the Veterans Jobs Bill by forcing a budget point of order vote. Senate Majority WHIP Dick Durbin (R-Il) requested a motion to waive the budget point of order. The budget point of order was raised by Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Al). Democrats need 60 votes, but only got 58.

Sessions said in a floor speech Wensday “This violates the Budget Control Act, there is no dispute about it. The Bill will not even go through the House and it violates the Constitution because it says revenue bills must be started in the House and this is a revenue bill.” Why does the House insist the Senate and President Obama present budgets when that is obviously unConstitutional. According to Senator Sessions the House is violating the Constitution willingly in doing so.

The Veterans Job Corp Act would have created new job training programs to help veterans find work in targeted fields. Fields such as natural park conservation, historic preservation projects, police work and firefighting, among others. Senator Scott Brown, Dean Heller, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe were the only Republicans who voted for the waiver, in a 58-40 vote.

The $1billion bill would have paid for itself over the next decade. Republican Senators say the bill allows for more spending at the Veterans Administration than what was agreed to in the Budget Control Act. This is thec reason they raised the point of order vote. Senator Tom Coburn (R-Ok) said these types of bills are part of the problem of the growing National Debt.

S.3457 was returned to the calender, leaving H.J. Res. 117, the 6 month spending resolution passed by the House last week, as the only business left in the Senate before the Election recess.

Senator Patty Murray (D-Wa) said “This point of order puts a price on what we are willing to provide our veterans and it says not a penny more. It’s a point of order that not only kill our ability to pass the bill, but that could also affect nearly every other effort we make to improve the lives of veterans moving forward.” She also said ” At every turn, we have sought compromise. But instead of meeting us halfway, we have been met with resistance. Instead of saying yes to the nearly 1 million unemployed veterans, it seems the other side have spent the last week and a half seeking out any way to say no.”

This a disgusting act on Republicans part. They practice a form of selective austerity. Tax cuts are another form of spending because they cut revenue. Republicans, Tea Party and conservatives are unwilling to raise taxes on the wealthy or close Corporate Tax Loopholes, tax havens and other forms of tax avoidance that cost us hundreds of billions of dollars a year, but will kill a $1 billion dollar bill for veterans that will pay for itself in 10 years. Lobbyist obviously have Republicans in their pocket. Our soldiers are good enough to die to make these greedy pigs rich but are not good enough to help. Shame on you Republicans, you are despicable.

                 

U.S. Representative Matt Cartwright (D-Pa) takes the Food Stamp Challenge, living on $4.50 a day.

            On Wednesday afternoon Rep.Matt Cartwright had a $.57 box of macaroni and cheese for dinner, with some iceberge lettuce topped with oil and vinegar and 2 slices of wheat bread. This was part of his 1 day protest designed to highight cuts in the proposed House Farm Bill. The plan is to eliminate $20 billion out of the $80 billion Food Stamp budget over the next decade.

Cartwright also ate 2 other small meals that kept his food intake under $4.50 for the day. That is the daily average for food under the SNAP Program per person. Rep. Frank Lucas (R-Ok) said that it is the most reform minded bill in decades. He said it would make needed SNAP cuts as well as eliminate $5 billion a year in subsidies paid to farmers, whether they grow crops or not. Why would a farm not growing crops get money from the Food Stamp Program?

The legislation would achieve some cuts by partially eliminating categorical eligibility. That automatically gives you food stamps if you sign up for other programs. People would still be eligible, but would have to apply. That is a good change. The House is debating 103 Amendments to the bill, including a Democrat proposal to eliminate the SNAP cuts. About three quarters of the 47 million recipients are families with children. There are 1.77 million recipients or 14% of the population in Pennsylvania

The Republican led House proposal would kick 2 million families off of the SNAP Program. That would have long term affects on the health of the family, but most importantly the children. Thr fact that Republicans do not understand that austerity doesn’t work is very perplexing. Europe was falling to pieces because of austerity measures. Cutting spending without increasing revenue doesn’t work. But in Republican fantsy land it doesn’t matter because they are making things harder on President Obama.

Republicans said they wanted dollar for dollar spending cuts and tax increases. They have gotten $4.00 in spending cuts for every $1.00 in tax increases. Lets also talk about $200 billion in corporate welfare in 2012 alone. That is 2 and 1/2 times the Food Stamp benefits and still about $40 billion more when you add in heat assistance. So corporations that don’t need money get it, but people struggling because of corporations like this crashing the economy get hit with cuts. I guess it only makes sense when you look at their campaign donations. But campaign finance reform is a battle for another day.

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.