Here’s one receipt you might want to have checked… Even though today isn’t offically “Tax Day” (that’s been moved to April 18 this year), the White House has gotten into the spirit with its online “Federal Tax Receipt” calculator that intends to show you where your tax money is being spent.
On Whitehouse.gov today there’s a post declaring that the government has a stupidly large amount of real estate that taxpayers are paying to maintain — but that it doesn’t really need.
One month ago, GMAC/Ally was the first major mortgage lender to freeze foreclosures and foreclosure sales in about half the U.S.. But the day after Bank of America announced it was thawing its foreclosure freeze, GMAC followed suit. Meanwhile, the White House has warned all lenders that it will go after banks who are found to employ any of the tactics that got them into this mess in the first place.
In April, legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives that would require courts to recognize out-of-state notarizations. It got little notice at the time and was deemed dead-on-arrival by some. Then in the last couple weeks, GMAC, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America announce they are freezing foreclosures in multiple states, in part because of improper notarizations. Suddenly, this bill passes through the Senate without any debate. It was enough to make the White House say “hmmmmm” when it arrived at the Oval Office for the President’s signature.
If you’re having trouble getting a signal on your smartphone, the White House feels your pain. The Obama administration has endorsed an FCC plan to nearly double the bandwidth available for wireless devices by freeing up additional wireless spectrum. But don’t expect blazing speeds or better signals overnight. The plan will take several years to implement, require congressional approval, and is tied to a bandwidth auction to get the carriers to pay for the right to use the spectrum.
About 10% of respondents in our informal poll yesterday about health insurance said they pay their own premiums, and according to a new poll from Kaiser Survey, three quarters of those people just faced a premium increase of 20% on average. The recent hikes have prompted the White House to say it will “sternly warn industry executives” today that insurers shouldn’t try to use the new health care law as an excuse to gouge customers, according to the New York Times.
The new Consumer Financial Protection agency will be a place you can go to with your complaints and they will be taken seriously, the White House said this afternoon during a conference call in which Consumerist took part. While, “It’s not totally worked out who’s going to be manning the 1-800 number,” said senior economic adviser Austan Goolsbee,
Now that the Senate has passed the financial reform bill, it’s off to non-smoke-filled rooms, where it will go into a Blendtec with the version passed by the House last year. CNNMoney.com sifted through all 1,600 pages of the bill and came up with a handy cheat sheet explaining what’s actually likely to change when this thing becomes a law.
The White House has released potions of a speech to be made by the president later today in NYC. In it Mr. Obama calls on banking industry lobbyists to halt their efforts to stop financial reforms that he feels are in the best interest of the market and the country.
Consumer Reports is going to the White House to ask them what’s up with health reform, and they need your questions press to them. The Health Blog is going to interview Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services, the crackerjack former state insurance commissioner of Kansas. What does health reform mean? How much will it cost? Are we going to get savings or will private doctors get run out of business? Leave your questions in the comments here or over on the Consumer Reports Health Blog or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org, subject “health reform.”
Ask a top administration official your questions about health reform [Consumer Reports Health Blog]
So, we used to have this thing called the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated investment banking from commercial banking. Then we didn’t anymore. Now the President has proposed new rules that would effectively restore some of the provisions of Glass-Steagall. Wall Street is like, so not cool with it, however.
Yesterday, President Obama spoke at the Brookings Institute about his administration’s plan for spurring job growth in our not-quite-a-recession-anymore-but-still-pretty-much-a-recession. Now they’ve invited Consumerist to bring our readers’ questions about the program to Austan Goolsbee, the staff director and chief economist on the President’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board.
In a speech this morning, President Obama is expected to address the economy, and “outline some key priorities for encouraging businesses to invest and create jobs,” according to White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. Will it work? Watch the speech here at 11:15 a.m. EST, and let us know what you think.
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.”