Georgia PIRG Latest Blog Posts

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Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Today, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will present the CFPB's sixth semi-annual report to the House Financial Services Committee, whose majority members have been harsh critics of the successful consumer agency. Americans for Financial Reform, joined by the state PIRGs and a total of 340 national, state and local groups, sent Congress a letter explaining why the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

We've joined AARP, the Consumer Federation of America, AFL-CIO, Americans for Financial Reform and other leading groups to support an imminent Department of Labor rule to require retirement advisors to put consumers first. Wall Street brokerages and insurance companies have already launched a fierce lobbying attack, since they've been using loopholes to put themselves first to the tune of an estimated $17 billion/year by pocketing what should be your retirement income.

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

Today the President announced support for a variety of privacy protections, most of which are laudable. However, it remains our view that Congressional consideration of a "uniform national breach notification standard" is unnecessary and, worse, will give powerful special interests an opportunity to use the proposal as a Trojan Horse to enact sweeping preemptive limits on state privacy protections.

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

UPDATED: Opposition to a controversial provision authored by Citibank forced House leaders to delay consideration of the "CRomnibus" appropriations package just hours before funding for the federal government expired at midnight Thursday. Eventually the bill passed narrowly with the Wall Street provision intact. Action now shifts to the Senate, which has a 48-hour window to pass the bill, but any one Senator can block it under Senate rules. The provision would again allow Wall Street banks to place risky bets with taxpayer-backed funds, and require taxpayers to bail them out if the bets fail, repealing a key protection added in the 2010 Wall Street reform law. 

 | by
Ed Mierzwinski
Senior Director, Federal Consumer Program

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) turned just three years old Monday, July 21st, but when you look at its massive and compelling body of work, you must wonder: Are watchdog years like plain old dog years? Is the CFPB now a full-sized, 21-year-old adult? The answer is no, not yet. The CFPB is still growing and developing and adding programs and projects. The CFPB is, however, at three years old, certainly a child prodigy. Despite overwhelming public support, however, powerful special interests continue to attack it. Yet, the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

We’ve already written about the impact that sequestration’s across-the-board cuts will have on food safety. Now the meat industry itself chimes in.

Sequestration’s across-the-board approach to cuts would reduce the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service budget by 8.2 percent, or $86 million. According to a White House OMB report released in September 2012,  with this significant cut the USDA’s efforts to “inspect food processing plants and prevent foodborne illnesses would be curtailed.”

This is bad news for consumers. The food inspection program is our first line of defense against contaminated food.

 

My W-2 just came in the mail, my bank is sending me reminders to download my 1099, and my TV is full of kindly tax service professionals who assure me that they’re there to help. This weekend I’ll sit down at the kitchen table with a pile of forms and a checkbook, and I’ll pay my taxes. It’s not glamorous, but it’s something we all do.

Well, almost all of us.

This Monday, January 21st, is significant in American democracy for a number of reasons.

Resolutions were made, the Peach was dropped, and a new year is beginning in Georgia.  For those of us who are public interest fighters, a new year means that a new legislative session, ripe with opportunity, is beginning at the Gold Dome.