By Contributing author Gabriel Rodriguez
Recently the media has begun to criticize those involved in writing the consumer protection language for the proposed financial reform legislation, or Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA). Although coverage has begun to gain steam in the last few weeks, possibly due to the fact that our Senate is currently attempting to strike a bipartisan agreement on key features of the sweeping bill, we are still not seeing this issue on the radar of mainstream media quite as much as Obama’s recently Healthcare reform bill. It seems that Democrats may have learned from this recent experience and are attempting to keep this issue quite, and slightly out of the view of the public. After all, whereas most American’s are very concerned about Healthcare reform for various reasons, a Financial Protection bill which will oversee regulation of not only big banks like Wells Fargo but even Payday Lenders such as Pay1Day.com is not of much interest or concern to the majority of American’s. Perhaps it should be, given who is writing the actual language behind the proposed bill.
Eric Stein, the ex-President of the Center For Responsible Lending (CRL), a non-profit group who claims to protect low-income Americans is drafting the consumer protection language in the proposed consumer protection bill. The CRL received a $15 million donation from billionaire John Paulson, who is known to have worked with Goldman Sachs to package bad mortgages into securities, and then push them on the market which helped lead to our current economic crisis. Stein is also being considered to be in charge of the CFPA, if the bill goes through. Some critics argue that Steins’ role in the CRL make him a risky choice to author the consumer protection language that is aimed to protect us from another financial crisis. He is also an interesting choice for Obama’s newly created position of “Deputy Assistant Secretary for Consumer Protection,” currently housed under the United States Treasury Department, considering he is an unelected official.
Some also argue that tougher consumer protection laws will limit short-term credit for individuals and small businesses, which would eliminate more jobs and ultimately harm our economy. Regardless of opinion, the creation of the proposed CFPA is something that will certainly affect us all as American consumers.