wall street

President’s Recess Appointment Gives Watchdog Teeth It Needs To Protect Consumers From Wall Street Financial Shenanigans

By Edmund Mierzwinski and Alana Miller

Kudos to President Obama for standing up for consumers this week by making a recess appointment of former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The President’s action means that the CFPB now has all its powers to protect the public from unfair financial practices, whether by banks or other financial firms, such as payday lenders and credit bureaus.

Since July 21, the CFPB – a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act – had been up and running, but only with partial powers. It is the nation’s first federal financial regulator with only one job – protecting consumers, including seniors, students and servicemembers, from unfair financial practices.

Now with a director in place, the CFPB has additional abilities that kick in, including the right to supervise payday lenders, mortgage companies, credit bureaus, debt collectors, private student lenders and other non-banks. It also now has additional powers over banks and credit card companies.

Along with civil rights, labor, senior and consumer groups, PennPIRG had long urged the Senate to confirm Cordray, the former Ohio Attorney General, to direct the CFPB. Recently, 37 state Attorneys General, on a bi-partisan basis, had sent a letter to the Senate urging confirmation.

Yet, at the behest of both the Wall Street banks and the payday lenders, some Senators had opposed confirmation of any CFPB director. 45 Senators, including Pennsylvania’s own Senator Toomey, had written the President in May and told him that they would block confirmation of any director until and unless the CFPB’s independence and authority were first restricted. Then, on December 8th, 45 Senators blocked Cordray’s nomination. They wanted the CFPB weak and powerless and with a tin cup in hand.

Occupy Philadelphia Hits City Hall Thursday Morning at 9:00!

Over 1000 activists converged on Arch Street United Methodist Church tonight and agreed that the Occupy Philadelphia protest against corporate greed and financial exploitation will happen this Thursday October 6 at 9:00 am at City Hall. Future sites for further protests or marches will be discussed in the coming days.

Updated information about the protest appears regularly on the Occupy Philadelphia Facebook page.

The assembled activists were led through a clear agenda by skillful young facilitators and organizers, who presented options for sites and dates and then polled the crowd to come to decisions. To find out more about the background of the protest, check out the interview with Occupy Philadelphia organizer Justin Harrison conducted by the City Paper's great Daniel Denvir. Harrison is a splicing technician who serves as unit secretary for the Communications Workers Local 1300.

Occupy Philadelphia Communications Coordinator Steve Ross will be answering questions tomorrow night, Wednesday October 5, at 7:00 at Philly For Change Meetup at Tritone, 1508 South Street.

Occupy Philadelphia: Wall Street Protest Coming Here

A group of 200+ energetic, enthusiastic mostly (but not exclusively) college age citizens met Thursday night at Arch Street United Methodist Church to plan bringing the Occupy Wall Street protest south to Philadelphia.

Many of the organizers and participants had participated in the protests in New York City and were eager to see rallies "for the 99%," as they call it, here in the cradle of liberty. The event was organized largely through social media.

As Susie Madrak reports on Crooks and Liars, related protests already have occurred in Boston and San Francisco, with broad, clear economic messages aimed at political leaders: tax the rich, stop corporate greed, and create good jobs.

The next planning meeting is scheduled for 6:30 Tuesday October 4 back at Arch Street Methodist, Broad and Arch Streets. The date and place of the actual Philly protest will be decided then.

I heard about the meeting through my friends in Philadelphia's wonderful, nationally-recognized poetry community. I had the good luck and honor of attending with poets Frank Sherlock, Jacob Russell, and Ryan Eckes.

Right now, in the aftermath of the August Tea Party power grab and with next year's elections looming, and some Democrats finally beginning to stand up, it is certainly a critical moment to let people in government and everyone else know that, at a very basic level, we do not accept an economic system and government that is still functioning first of all for the benefit of the rich, or top 1% of wage earners, and to the detriment of everyone else.

That's oligarchy, and that's not what the U.S. or Philadelphia should stand for.

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