May 9, 2013
The front-page excerpt from Robert G. Kaiser's book on Congress ["The secret handshake that foiled the banking lobby," May 6] told how then-Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) exploited divisions within the banking lobby to secure the passage of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act. During the 1970s and '80s, I and other staffers on the Senate Banking Committee often used the phrase " Gresham's law of trade association politics. " It meant that the policy of any trade association tends to be driven by its most obtuse elements.
May 8, 2013 |
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday issued a series of proposals to create more flexible repayment plans for the millions of Americans struggling with private student loans. Such loans, which are offered by banks and other financial firms, account for $150 billion of the $1 trillion in outstanding student loan debt, but they have come under increased scrutiny. They generally carry higher interest rates and fewer protections than federal loans, and borrowers are rarely afforded wiggle room when they can't afford minimum payments.
May 8, 2013 |
In 2002, the U.S. military had just two kinds of camouflage uniforms. One was green , for the woods. The other was brown , for the desert. Then things got strange. Today, there is one camouflage pattern just for Marines in the desert . There is another just for Navy personnel in the desert. The Army has its own " universal " camouflage pattern, which is designed to work anywhere. It also has another one just for Afghanistan, where the first one doesn't work.
May 2, 2013 |
It never ceases to amaze me every time I see yet another predatory financial product making the rounds. Financially strapped seniors are increasingly being targeted by firms offering high-priced loans against their pensions, according to a report in the New York Times. In one case, a borrower took out a loan against his pension for $10,000 for 60 months. His monthly payment was $353. The total cost of the loan was $21,180, or an interest rate of 36.4 percent, according to the Times.
April 26, 2013
This is part of the Post Live panel discussion ‘Kitchen Table Economics,' held April 16 at The Washington Post. View other videos from the discussion here. Gail Hillebrand Associate director of consumer education and engagement, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau One of the big things for kids to learn is, is it something I need or something I want, and is this something as a family we need or we want? Because it turns out all that conversation you heard on the first panel about "pay yourself first" is partly about being able to distinguish between the things we've got to have for our family and the things we'd really like to have and we're going to work toward.
April 23, 2013 |
Banking regulators are set to hand down tough new rules to govern short-term, high-interest loans that have been blamed for trapping some Americans in a cycle of debt, according to people familiar with the matter. The rules, which are slated to come out Thursday, could radically alter the operations of the small but growing number of banks, including Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp, that offer loans tied to anticipated direct deposits of salary, government benefits or other income. Critics say these products carry the same abusive high interest rates and balloon payments as the payday loans provided by storefront vendors.
April 23, 2013 |
Richard Cordray resumed a familiar position Tuesday: defense. In his semi-annual report to Congress, Cordray, the acting head of the government's consumer watchdog agency, defended the bureau's vast efforts to track how Americans shop for mortgages and use credit cards. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is buying anonymous data and requesting records from banks on more than 10 million Americans to gain greater insight into consumer behavior and the financial marketplace.
April 22, 2013 |
Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is being barred from testifying before the House Financial Services Committee until he is confirmed by the Senate. Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) sent a letter to the consumer bureau on Monday saying Cordray's recess appointment places his authority in question. In January, a federal appeals court ruled that President Obama's recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board were unconstitutional and therefore invalid.
April 18, 2013 |
Senior citizens are being lured into riskier investments — and often outright scams — as carefully laid retirement plans have been scuttled by five years of low interest rates. Government regulators and advocacy groups say unscrupulous dealers are taking advantage of a growing fear among seniors that they will run out of money in their final years of life. That's in large part because many seniors have parked their cash in safe investments, such as government bonds, where returns have barely kept pace with inflation.
April 17, 2013 |
The regulatory, administrative state, which progressives champion, is generally a servant of the strong, for two reasons. It responds to financially powerful and politically sophisticated factions. And it encourages rent-seekers to exploit opportunities for concentrated benefits and dispersed costs (e.g., agriculture subsidies confer sums on large agribusinesses by imposing small costs on 316 million Americans). Such government inevitably means executive government and the derogation of the legislative branch, both of which produce exploding government debt.