The White House has asked mortgage executives to come up with the manpower to stop precarious loans from becoming foreclosures, but a New York Times story says finance experts say a lack of bodies isn’t the problem. It’s greed.
This week, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) postponed a vote on a bill creating a Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) until September when lawmakers return from recess. The delay is partly due to other more pressing issues, but mainly due to unexpected (really?) pushback from the financial industry.
Ten years ago, Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports and owner of Consumerist) warned us all about the potential danger from bisphenol A (BPA) leeching from plastic containers into our food. It’s only in recent years that municipalities got around to banning the chemical—at least in containers designed for use by infants and small children.
It’s a good week for consumer protection against abusive credit card practices. Yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee approved the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights, and this afternoon President Obama is meeting with officials from 14 credit card companies to tell them “that greater consumer protections are coming for their customers, with or without their cooperation.”
We don’t blame the Mid America CropLife Association (MACA)—
a pesticide an agribusiness trade group—for promoting its interests, but we still think it’s funny that they’ve asked the first family to not grow organic vegetables in the White House vegetable garden. MACA’s Executive Director Bonnie McCarvel sent a long letter to Michelle Obama reminding her of the importance of technology in modern farming, then publicized the letter via an email where she noted, “While a garden is a great idea, the thought of it being organic made Janet Braun, CropLife Ambassador Coordinator and I shudder.”
Great news, 17-year-olds! A federal judge has ruled that you can now avoid accidental babies by partaking in the emergency contraceptive wonder that is Plan B. Back in 2006, the Food and Drug Administration limited the contraceptive to women 18 and over, and ordered pharmacists to hide the drug behind their counters away from other common contraceptives. Judge Edward Korman ruled this week that the agency’s decision was based on politics not science, and that it constituted an unacceptable public health buzzkill.
American Express has given her an “interim” refund in full, pending a review that will involve the credit card company presenting to PIC officials all of Blessman’s documentation on the services she feels she was denied.
For 10 years—including the boom times banks enjoyed in the first half of this decade—the FDIC was prevented from collecting fees from 95% of financial institutions, which it would have used to further build up its safety net in the event it would someday have to bail out a bunch of stupid losers who confused banking with alchemy.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is calling it quits as of inauguration day. The Chairman, who could have served for three more years, is heading to the Aspen Institute, a preserve for endangered spectacles masquerading as a “nonprofit leadership group.” Martin’s tenure was a mixed bag for consumers…
In this letter (PDF) sent to CPSC chair Nancy Nord, and released to the public, Consumers Union and a bunch of other consumer interest groups ask the CPSC to please do its part to clear up all the confusion over the coming Toy Testing Apocalypse. Don’t want to read the whole thing? Here’s a much shorter summary:
Consumerist reader Darkrose writes, “I just got this in my e-mail. Thought you guys might be interested in it.” In the email, GM’s president Troy Clarke is in high PR mode, pointing out the grave consequences and emphasizing that GM wants not “a bailout but rather a loan that will be repaid.” We thought other readers who aren’t GM customers would find it interesting.
The LA Times says that Amazon.com had a mask depicting democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama listed under the search term “terrorist costume.” The listing has since been pulled but the LA Times has a screengrab.
For the sake of balance, vis-à-vis Obama’s Taking It Seriously, here’s one for Sarah Palin.
Obama just gave his acceptance speech to become the Democratic candidate for the next President of the United States of America. Here’s what was in it for consumers, he promised to:
Despite fierce opposition from the local water management district staff, and concerns that it would deplete an already scarce natural resource from the people who live there, Nestle managed to secure a deal to pump nearly 1.5 million gallons of water a day into their Deer Park bottling plant for the next ten years. Nestle pays no other fees for the water beyond the $230 license—in fact, “Nestle has received two [tax] refunds totaling $196,000 and requested a third tax refund.” To make the matter even more offensive, the plant hasn’t delivered on its commitment to employ 300 workers, and it so far has failed to bring in the estimated $12 million-a-year to the local economy. The St. Petersburg Times has a rich, infuriating history of the Nestle fiasco and how they’ve conned Floridians out of their own water with the help of state politicians.
All Presidential candidates should have a plan to wean America off its credit card dependence. We collectively owe almost $1 trillion to credit card companies, but only the Democratic candidates have written plans to reform the credit card industry. Alpha Consumer wrote an excellent summary of their competing plans to strike at some of the industry’s most harmful practices.