A federal government agency is set soon to decide that it will protect consumers of short-term loans by regulating out of business many of the credit products that low-income and middle class Americans commonly use. Many American use payday loans and title loans offered by small-dollar lenders to meet short-term financial needs, and new regulations proposed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) threaten to put these providers out of business.
The CFPB is an out-of-control federal agency, created under the Dodd-Frank Act, that has authority to regulate a wide variety of financial services. The new regulations it proposes will apply to payday loans, vehicle title loans, deposit advance products, and other credit products typically offered by small-dollar lenders.
On March 26, 2015, the Richard Cordray, the Director of the CFPB announced “today the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced it is considering proposing rules that would end payday debt traps by requiring lenders to take steps to make sure consumers can repay their loans. The proposals under consideration would also restrict lenders from attempting to collect payment from consumers’ bank accounts in ways that tend to rack up excessive fees.”
Though the talking heads in the media are focused on the intra-party leadership fight following the unexpected and sudden resignation announcement of House Speaker John Boehner, Democrats have an internal battle of their own going on.
On Monday, the United States and Japan, along with ten other North American and Pacific Rim nations (Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Malaysia, Peru, Chile, and Vietnam - which together comprise 36% of the Earth’s global domestic product), concluded negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a massive trade agreement that seeks to facilitate greater trade among these nations by reducing tariffs and other barriers to trade.
The negotiations, ongoing for the last decade, produced an agreement with mixed results for American interests. For example, U.S. negotiators claim the pact will strengthen intellectual property rights (which will benefit American pharmaceutical and technology companies) and open up foreign markets to American agricultural and dairy products. However, it would also reduce the duration that companies have market exclusivity for their products before they compete with generics.
Few industry analysts seemed surprised when Sprint’s new CEO announced “after thorough analysis” that the company won’t participate in next year’s auction of TV broadcast spectrum (known as the “incentive auction”). Analysts already knew that Sprint “has the spectrum it needs to deploy its network architecture of the future.” As a senior telecommunications analyst for Bloomberg Intelligence said in response to the news, “Sprint really has a lot more spectrum than its rivals, so they don’t have that pressing need to get more.”
It’s easy to appreciate President Obama’s frustration and sadness over the shooting at a community college in Oregon yesterday. He’s right: it’s become all too routine, feeling the shock and sadness at the evil that grips a man and convinces him to take so many innocent lives with him as he shuffles off his own mortal coil. And this Mercer kid — this loner, malcontent, wastrel — must have known his act would lead to his own demise, if not immediately, then somewhere down the road. And so it did. And good riddance to him. The world is better off without his addition to the darkness. And as we all, I hope, find ways to help that Oregonian community heal, there’s something important to remember. Something our president, and his minions in the press, seem to have forgotten:
This boy, this evil man-child and whatever demons haunted him (be they emotional, ideological, familial or whatever), are responsible for what happened. The plot was hatched in his head, the triggers were pulled by him. So it is disheartening to see so much effort in the immediate aftermath toward placing the blame pretty much anywhere else.
Donald Trump, the brash, politically incorrect, self-promoting billionaire businessman turned politician has, in defiance of all political wisdom, rocketed to the top of the polls by tapping into the frustration and anger of the conservative base, which feels betrayed by GOP leadership’s absolute refusal to fight Obama’s lawless actions.
However, he has increasingly received criticism for his bumper-sticker sloganeering brand of campaigning, which has been long on chest-thumping but short on specifics. In response, Trump released recently his income tax reform plan.
From a broad-strokes perspective, there is much to like about Trump’s plan; the elimination of the marriage penalty and the AMT (Alternative Minimum Tax), the elimination of loopholes and deductions, the elimination of the death tax, a reduction in the number of tax brackets and a lowering of the rates (four brackets of 0%, 10%, 20%, and 25%), and a steep reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 15% (a great way to encourage investment in U.S. companies, which now bear the burden of the highest corporate tax rate in the world).
Trump’s plan would also require American multi-nationals to repatriate their offshore capital, encouraged by a 10% repatriation tax rate.
However, as with everything in life, the devil is in the details.
In case the headline wasn’t clear enough, this post is not about abortion. That sentence may be the only time I use the word at all. But this is definitely about Planned Parenthood and why it should not be federally funded, regardless of what goods or evils it may provide.
Planned Parenthood Federation for America, Inc. is a 501c3 tax-exempt non-profit corporation, so it doesn’t pay any income tax on its revenue or profits like most other private health care providers do. It received a total of 1.3 billion in revenue in the most recently reported year, 2013. Just under half of that was from government funding, $528 million.
So not only is Planned Parenthood not paying any taxes, they’re also receiving almost half their total income from your tax dollars. There’s a term for this (and no, it still has nothing to do with the “A” word). It’s corporate welfare.
Image courtesy of the WSJ.
Are some Democratic-leaning “blue” states cashing in on the failure of their state-run Obamacare health care exchanges? Based on a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Daily Caller reports that Obamacare is perhaps fast becoming a money laundering scheme. The 15 states that have created exchanges, most of which failed, were examined in the GAO report.
The GAO report, analyzed by Americans for Tax Reform, illustrated that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reviewed the state-based exchanges in 15 states and found serious operational deficiencies. In the instances of Massachusetts, Maryland, Nevada and Oregon, the sites were unable to enroll customers during the first enrollment period for Obamacare. Several of the state-based exchanges have been closed, and those states have reverted to the federal HealthCare.gov exchange instead. Yet the GAO reports that only $1 million of the $4.5 billion spent on the state-based exchanges has been reimbursed to the federal government.
Something has happened this morning that we have not seen in a long age - conservatives and liberals are united. No, they’re not all celebrating Pope Francis’ message of unity and equality, though there’s some of that, and the papal visit is related. No, what has brought both sides together is the announcement that Speaker John Boehner will resign both his leadership position and House seat at the end of this October.
Apparently speaking to the Pope yesterday moved Boehner so much that he has decided to step down. And who can blame him? Since his ascendancy after Republicans took back the House in 2010, there have been constant calls for his replacement. He’s been called a RINO, a sell-out, a stand-in for the real Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, and worse. Conservatives never supported him strongly enough (though most kept reelecting him to the position), and Democrats opposed him on nearly everything.
Boehner was also constantly mocked for his emotional rawness. But again, who can blame him? He’s in awe of his country, his government, despite its flaws, and his position within it. I well up every time I hear the Star-Spangled Banner at a sporting event. I can’t imagine being elected to a government position by your fellow citizens and feeling the overwhelming responsibility and trust that entails.
Either Obama’s policy team doesn’t care about folks that manage to make a life outside of the Big Cities, or his environmental legacy is more important to him than those same people freezing in their own houses during the winter months.
Because it’s clear from the recent series of proposed regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): President Obama is intent on forcing significant changes to all heating and electrical systems in the U.S.
It’s also obvious, even to the least cynical observer, that the President and his White House appointees are capitalizing on Pope Francis’ recent encyclical on climate change. However, it is important the White House understand that as much as the Pope would like our elected leaders to actually put forward solutions, they should be wary of causing more harm than good.
As much as the Pope may not like to admit it, sometimes the old maxim is true: the road to hell is often paved with good intentions.
The Papal encyclical does not outline specific policy goals, nor does it lay out the path by which the Obama Administration should move forward. But while these newest regs will probably not result in wasting billions more tax dollars like Obama’s “green tech investment fund” (aka Solyndra), the hipster political appointees in the White House need to understand that there are still consequences to their policy making. This policy making, as they have proposed it, will hurt the very people it’s supposed to help.
Ed. Note: This was originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.
The biggest mistake of well-meaning leftists is that they place too much value on good intentions and don’t seem to care nearly as much about good results.
Pope Francis is an example of this unfortunate tendency. His concern for the poor presumably is genuine, but he puts ideology above evidence when he argues against capitalism and in favor of coercive government.
Here are some passages from a CNN report on the Pope’s bias.
Pope Francis makes his first official visit to the United States this week. There’s a lot of angst about what he might say, especially when he addresses Congress Thursday morning. …He’ll probably discuss American capitalism’s flaws, a theme he has hit on since the 1990s. Pope Francis wrote a book in 1998 with an entire chapter focused on “the limits of capitalism.” …Francis argued that…capitalism lacks morals and promotes selfish behavior. …He has been especially critical of how capitalism has increased inequality… He’s tweeted: “inequality is the root of all evil.” …he’s a major critic of greed and excessive wealth. …”Capitalism has been the cause of many sufferings…”