Republicans for More Federal Power

A couple of years ago, a lobbyist for developer interests complained, "We seem to be at a point now where the word 'sprawl' has been totally demonized."

Yeah, I hate it when good words go bad, don't you?

Well, now comes a passel of bank lobbyists rallying around another fine term in the world of business: Predatory lending. This term applies to bankers -- always on the watch for ways to grab another buck -- who target lower-income folks and talk them into taking out loans to, say, refinance their homes -- the only asset most of them have. The banking predators write the loans in such a way that the poor borrower cannot possibly pay them back -- so the people lose their houses. What a sweet form of bank robbery, huh -- only the robbers are the bankers.

You might think that reputable bankers would find this abominable. But some of the most reputable bankers in the country have dispatched their armies of lobbyists to Washington, where their boy Bob Ney, a Republican congress critter from Ohio, has introduced a bill for them. The target of the Ney bill is a host of state laws that are cropping up to protect consumers from these unscrupulous, predatory loans.

Ney wants the federal government to pre-empt Georgia, New York, and other states that are passing "fair lending laws." But wait, you say, I thought George W and the Republican Party were against the Big Bad Feds and wanted to give more power to the states.

Well, when it helps their corporate sponsors to have power diffused, then they're for moving the actions to the states, but when it helps corporate interests to have power federalized, suddenly so-called conservatives like Ney are up on their hind legs decrying the messy "patchwork" of state laws and demanding for federal preemption of state authority.

They're not conservatives -- they're corporate whores. To fight them and the shame of predatory lending, contact the great grassroots fighter for consumers, ACORN: 1-877-55ACORN.

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