Posts Tagged ‘consumer


‘the senate refuses to consider obama nominees’

Barney Frank (in the Washington Post): …. The president has nominated Richard Cordray, an able, experienced and thoughtful former state attorney general who has a record of achievement in protecting individuals against financial abuse, to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And the Republican minority in the Senate has announced that it intends to deny any consideration of the individual …. they will do that by blatantly distorting the Constitution…..

Cordray is just the latest capable, dedicated public servant to fall victim to a Republican mugging …. his record as attorney general of Ohio puts him in a small group of people able to act effectively to deal with the mortgage crisis. No one has raised any questions about his intelligence, integrity or dedication.

Yet his nomination will not even be fairly considered by the full Senate …. They will not confirm anyone until the Senate majority reverses itself to once again put bank regulators in a position to overrule virtually all of the policies that would be set by the consumer agency. The president is being told that the price of having a nominee confirmed is reversing himself on a major policy initiative that has already been enacted.

…. Cordray’s hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, and we’re going to see an extraordinarily qualified administrator of an important consumer protection agency be trashed by the Senate Republican minority because their primary goal is to ensure that financial institutions are not troubled by what they may see as an excessive concern for consumer fairness.

They are now refusing to confirm any recess appointment …. It is the legislative equivalent to an arsonist having set a fire and objecting to a building’s inhabitants using the fire exit.

Full article here



The personnel announcement concerns Alan Krueger who the President has nominated to be the next chairman of his Council of Economic Advisers.

The 50-year-old Princeton University professor, who was the assistant secretary for economic policy and the chief economist of the Treasury Department from 2009 to 2010, will replace Austan Goolsbee, who left to teach at the University of Chicago. Krueger also was a chief economist at the Labor Department in President Bill Clinton’s administration.

** Read Steve Benen on Krueger here **

White House live


NYT: Consumer spending in the United States rebounded strongly in July to post the largest increase in five months on strong demand for motor vehicles, a government report showed on Monday, supporting views the economy was not falling back into recession.

The Commerce Department said consumer spending increased 0.8 percent, the largest gain since a matching increase in February, after slipping 0.1 percent in June.

… When adjusted for inflation, spending rose 0.5 percent last month, the largest gain since a matching increase in December 2009, after being flat in June.

The data suggested the economy started the third quarter with some strength after growth almost stalled in the first half of the year…..


‘a big week for the new consumer agency’

Elizabeth Warren: This is a big week for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Today, the President will announce his intent to nominate Richard Cordray to serve as its first Director. On Thursday, the CFPB makes its transition from a start-up to a real, live agency with the authority to write rules and to supervise the activities of America’s largest banks.

Rich will be a strong leader for this agency. He has a proven track record of fighting for families during his time as head of the CFPB enforcement division, as Attorney General of Ohio, and throughout his career. He was one of the first senior executives I recruited for the agency, and his hard work and deep commitment make it clear he can make many important contributions in leading it. Rich is smart, he is tough, and he will make a stellar Director. I am very pleased for him and very pleased for the CFPB.

…. Our mission is clear: No one should be tricked in any financial transaction. Prices and risks should be clear. People should be able to make apples-to-apples comparisons. Fine print should be mowed down, not used to hide nasty surprises. And, everyone – even trillion dollar banks – should follow the law…..

More here


President Barack Obama announces Richard Cordray as his nominee to be the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Rose Garden, July 18. Obama was joined by Elizabeth Warren, Special Advisor on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.


Ezra Klein: There’s a fair amount of disappointment over the White House’s decision to formally nominate Richard Cordray rather than Elizabeth Warren to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau….

I don’t really understand this. Whoever is nominated to lead the CFPB is going to spend the next year of his life being filibustered by Republicans …. so the question isn’t who you want leading the CFPB for the foreseeable future. It’s who you want spending his or her time being stopped from leading the CFPB for the foreseeable future. And it’s not clear that the answer to that question is “Elizabeth Warren.”

Warren, after all, has another option that she appears to be taking seriously: challenging Scott Brown in the 2012 electionm … if she wants to do that, she can’t spend the next year being blocked from leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau…

…. Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general with a great reputation in consumer-protection circles and Warren’s blessing, doesn’t have anything to run for until Ohio’s governorship opens in 2014. By all accounts, he’s a good choice to lead the agency now, if he can somehow get past the Republicans, and spending a few years publicly fighting to protect consumers is unlikely to hurt him back home.

… given the information we have now, it seems like a fairly smart way to deploy the talents and preserve the future options of the various consumer protectors whom Republicans plan to filibuster.

Full post here

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‘us consumer spending best in three years’

BBC: Consumer spending in the US grew at its fastest pace in three years during 2010, official figures have shown.

Spending grew by 3.5% from 2009 the Commerce Department said, the best showing since a 5.2% rise in 2007 – before the country went into recession.

The 2010 levels were helped by a strong December, where spending grew by 0.7%, the sixth consecutive month of growth.

Consumer spending makes up more than two-thirds of activity in the US, the world’s largest economy.

….Economists expect that spending and savings will be boosted further in 2011, if the job market continues to slowly improve and with a cut in payroll tax.

…Last week, figures showed that US economic growth accelerated in the last three months of 2010 to an annualised rate of 3.2%, up from a rate of 2.6% in the previous quarter.

More here


grim news for the gop: the economy just won’t stop recovering

Consumer Confidence in U.S. Improves, Businesses Expand in Recovery Signs

Bloomberg (extracts): Confidence among U.S. consumers rose in November to the highest level in five months and a gauge of business activity unexpectedly climbed, signaling the recovery is taking hold heading into 2011.

Gains in spending that are giving retailers like Wal-Mart Stores Inc. a boost during the holiday-shopping season are more likely to continue into next year as households sense that job and income prospects are improving.

Factories, which helped lead the economy out of the recession, are still bolstering the expansion. The Chicago ISM’s business barometer rose to 62.5 in November, exceeding even the highest estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg.

Manufacturing may keep accelerating as exports grow and companies invest in new equipment, sustaining the recovery. The group’s production gauge climbed to the highest level since February 2005, and the index of new orders rose to a three-year high.

“Manufacturers still have orders coming in and they have to be filled,” said Thomas Simons, an economist at Jefferies Group Inc. in New York. “There is a lot of foreign demand and a lot of business demand.”

The economy expanded at a 2.5 percent pace in the third quarter, more than initially estimated, the Commerce Department said last week. Consumer spending rose at the highest rate in almost four years and wage and salary gains were revised up for the past two quarters.


Politico: The Congressional Budget Office has a positive prediction for the Obama administration: The government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program is seen as costing taxpayers $25 billion, which the nonpartisan group says is “substantially less” than previous estimates.

The CBO says in a new report that the costs of TARP’s transactions to the federal government are well below the $66 billion that was last estimated in August.

“Clearly, it was not apparent when the TARP was created two years ago that the cost would turn out to be this low,” the report says. “Because the financial system stabilized and then improved, the amount of funds used by the TARP was well below the $700 billion initially authorized, and the outcomes of most transactions made through the TARP were favorable for the federal government.”

The reduction in the estimated cost is attributed to a few developments, including a lower cost in assistance to AIG and the auto industry.

The CBO’s estimate is also substantially lower than the Office of Management and Budget’s latest estimate of $113 billion. The nonpartisan office says this is because “the market value of assets held by the government has increased and several recipients of TARTP funds – most notably General Motors and AIG – have significantly restructured the Treasure’s investment since May 31, 2010.”


it’s all bad news! really?

MSNBC: A GM success story? The biggest political story that few are talking about right now? GM’s initial public stock offering, which is set for this Thursday. Looks like it’s going to be a big success and a case where the government may just make money on this deal. This has the potential of being a very good story for the Obama White House, as well as a success of government intervention. Where would the unemployment rate be in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Ohio if GM not gotten major government assistance?

AFP: US retail sales rose faster than expected in October, official figures showed Monday, with the auto sector leading the way.
Retail and food services rose 1.2% from September … that was much better than the 0.7% increase expected by economists.

Auto and other motor vehicle dealers saw business grow 5.7%, more than any other sector. Top US carmakers had earlier reported strong sales in October.

GM, the nation’s largest automaker, said its sales in the United States in October were up 3.5% from a year ago.
Ford, the second-biggest automaker and the only one that did not take government aid during the 2008-2009 financial crisis, reported October sales were up 19%

Chrysler, which was also saved from ruin by a government bailout, said its car sales rose a strong 37% in October compared with a year earlier, marking the seventh consecutive month of increases.



Bloomberg: The U.S. economy grew at a 2 percent annual rate in the third quarter as consumer spending climbed the most in almost four years, a sign the expansion is developing staying power.


west wing warren

President Obama speaks from the Rose Garden about the importance of establishing an agency dedicated to protect consumer’s rights and names Elizabeth Warren as a special adviser to set up the new agency. September 17


signed, sealed, delivered … another big beepin’ deal!

President Barack Obama signs the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act alongside members of Congress, the administration and US Vice President Joe Biden at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, DC, July 21, 2010. Obama signed the most sweeping financial reforms since the 1930s into law Wednesday, promising everyday Americans would no longer have to pay for Wall Street’s mistakes







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