Wall Street Versus Washington: Government Regulation Limps Along - Page 2
2. The Dodd-Frank Act creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Although the Dodd-Frank Act hasn’t delivered on all of its promises, it did create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This is a central regulation authority just for consumer financial protection. They’re in charge of overseeing big banks, their credit card operations, and some of their mortgage servicers. Their mission is to educate consumers, enforce Federal consumer financial laws and study financial market data. Yes, the CFPB is underfunded, and yes, they still don’t have a director yet, but they’re up and running nonetheless.
To help consumers make informed decisions when choosing mortgages, the CFPB created the Know Before You Owe program. They’ve also got complaint specialists lined up and ready to take your calls, so if you don’t like something about your credit card, you can let them know directly. If you’d like them to do even better, call up your congressman. The CFPB faces its most severe opposition from the government itself. Without a director, they can’t function at full capacity, and Senate Republicans are refusing to consider any nominations unless the agency is given even less power than it already has.
3. Extended benefits for the unemployed
Since 2008, the unemployment rate in the U.S. has hovered around 10%. In September the percentage of the unemployed who have been out of work for six months or longer reached 44.6%. Even for a recession, these numbers aren’t typical. Our government has responded to the crisis by extending the unemployment eligibility period five times since 2008! People can now receive benefits for a maximum of 99 weeks, but President Obama is still pushing for another extension. Whether or not you think this makes sense in light of our trillion-dollar budget deficit is another issue entirely, but the fact of the matter is Americans just aren’t finding work fast enough. Job growth in this country is still moving slower than molasses There are about five applicants for every job opening, and even after the latest unemployment extension, some 2.2 million people lost their benefits in November 2010, according to the Department of Labor.Continued on the next page