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The GOP Hates Jobs

With unemployment out of control, the economy is in dire need of serious financial reform and a major jobs package. But not if GOP obstructionists can help it.

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Save the Consumer Financial Protection Agency

After watching the government hurl trillions of dollars at faltering banks, it’s obvious that major financial reform is urgently needed. And one of the most important aspects of that reform is a new regulatory agency that defends consumers, not just bank balance sheets. As  Tim Fernholz argues for  The American Prospect:

“Shoring up our financial system to avoid new disasters remains popular with the public but only if it represents real reform. …That means closing loopholes and making clear that this bill has what it takes to protect average citizens as well as restricting banks’ bad behavior.”

And yet astoundingly, Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), the current Democratic leader of financial reform negotiations in the Senate, appears ready to drop Obama’s proposal to create an independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA).

Instead, Dodd would house the regulator under the Treasury Department, and give the existing, failed bank regulators effective veto power over the CFPA’s moves. It’s a head-fake: We create a new regulator, but are instead giving that power to the same failed agencies who allowed the banks to pillage our pocketbooks, our retirement savings and our home values.

Failed negotiations with the GOP

This is supposedly all part of a set of negotiations with Republicans, but they aren’t really  negotiating in any clear sense. Negotiating means going through some process of give-and-take. Right now, Republicans are just seeing how far Democrats will bend, and so far, there has been no limit. Ferhnolz is right. Voting for the banks and against taxpayers and consumers will be a very bitter pill for Republicans to swallow. Dodd and the Democrats need to make them do it instead of caving to pressure and allowing Republicans to vote for a weak bill that doesn’t protect the public from banker excess. Make the Republicans vote for real reform, or face the consequences at the polls for voting against it.

The public shame that is currently being heaped upon Bunning should prove that point. The American public wants jobs and financial reform. They want to go back to work and make sure that the bankers who tanked the economy can’t keep getting rich by hijacking their savings. Woe unto the politician who opposes that.

 

 

Zach Carter is an economics editor at AlterNet. He writes a weekly blog on the economy for the Media Consortium and his work has appeared in the Nation, Mother Jones, the American Prospect and Salon.

 
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