Friday, May 20, 2011


Michael Lazarus is at it again. This time it's the Republican efforts to shield the banking industry from any meaningful oversight.

There can be only two possible reasons for Republican lawmakers' steadfast opposition to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

One: Maybe not a single GOP member of Congress has ever had a problem with his or her bank, credit cards, mortgage or car loan, and thus sees no need for additional oversight of financial institutions.

Or two: Maybe GOP lawmakers are responding to the millions of dollars spent by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the financial services industry to undermine a new government agency intended to rein in abusive lending practices.

Now there's a tough call, eh?

Just in case, however, Lazarus cites a few facts, among them this:

It's not surprising that Republican lawmakers are doing their darnedest to shield banks from additional scrutiny. In the 2010 campaign cycle, individuals and political action committees associated with banks gave nearly $19 million to federal candidates, committees and parties, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The vast majority of that money made its way to GOP recipients, the center found.

What puzzles Lazarus is that the constituents of these congress critters haven't raised the roof because of their choice of banksters over the rest of us. After all, bank abuse doesn't just happen to dirty hippies. Lazarus concludes that the facile "too much government ... we don't need another agency" combined with a lack of media interest in the subject have met for the perfect silence.

To the first issue, we need only point to the fact that the current system had been so thoroughly gamed by banking interests that our entire economy went down the tubes, where it remains. We should have learned that real oversight was necessary or these thugs would continue to rip off the rest of us.

To the second, we need only point to the silence of the press. It's attention span is even shorter than ours, and may in fact be the reason we don't pay attention.

Fortunately, David Lazarus is paying attention.

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