Last week, at a House hearing on financial institutions and consumer credit, Republicans lined up to grill and attack Elizabeth Warren, the law professor and bankruptcy expert who is in charge of setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Ostensibly, they believed that Ms. Warren had overstepped her legal authority by helping state attorneys general put together a proposed settlement with mortgage servicers, which are charged with a number of abuses.
For more than a decade, the American real estate market resembled an overstuffed novel, which is to say, it was an engrossing piece of fiction.
Mortgage brokers hip deep in profits handed out no-doc mortgages to people with fictional incomes. Wall Street shopped bundles of those loans to investors, no matter how unappetizing the details. And federal regulators gave sleepy nods.
That world largely collapsed under the weight of its improbabilities in 2008.
State attorneys general have presented the nation’s five biggest banks with a list of demands that could drastically alter the foreclosure process and give the government sweeping authority over how mortgage servicers deal with millions of Americans in danger of losing their homes.
It may have sounded like music to the ears of Move Your Money proponents.
Chants of "move those dollars" and "move that money" rang out last week in the Hart Senate Office Building during an event for supporters of the Metro Industrial Areas Foundation. The group is spearheading a 10 Percent Is Enough campaign to fight usury, the practice of charging excessive interest rates and fees. They had reason to celebrate...
By 9 o’clock each morning, the arithmetic of debt jams the courthouses of New York City, the far end of a trail that begins on Wall Street and is paved with securitized bonds and chits for appliances bought on credit.
A pastor from Queens does the math. “You have a $2.50 slice of pizza bought with a debit card, and if the person is over the limit, the card is not rejected,” said the Rev. Patrick H. O’Connor of First Presbyterian Church in Jamaica. “Instead, you have a $35 fee. So the slice of pizza is $37.50.” ...
It seems like nothing is working. Reports from Albany and Washington say that governments everywhere - local, state and national - are melting down into puddles of partisanship, corruption and dysfunction. No one has a clue. And, if, by chance, a bill or budget passes, hide the kids and bar the doors.