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Weekly Address: President Obama – Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

The President’s Weekly Address post is also an Open News Thread. Feel free to share other news stories in the comments.

 

From the White HouseWeekly Address

In this week’s address, the President highlighted the progress made protecting American consumers since he signed Wall Street reform into law five years ago, including an important new step taken by the independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau earlier this week toward preventing abuses in payday lending.

The President emphasized his commitment to fighting to advance middle-class economics and ensure everybody who works hard can get ahead, while opposing attempts by Republicans both to weaken the CFPB and give large tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans at the expense of the middle class.

Transcript: Weekly Address: Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

Hi, everybody.  Five years ago, after the worst financial crisis in decades, we passed historic Wall Street reform to end the era of bailouts and too big to fail.

As part that reform, we created an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with one mission: to protect American consumers from some of the worst practices of the financial industry.

They’ve already put $5 billion back in the pockets of more than 15 million families.  And this week, they took an important first step towards cracking down on some of the most abusive practices involving payday loans.

Millions of Americans take out these loans every year.  In Alabama, where I visited this week, there are four times as many payday lending stores as there are McDonald’s.  But while payday loans might seem like easy money, folks often end up trapped in a cycle of debt.  If you take out a $500 loan, it’s easy to wind up paying more than $1,000 in interest and fees.

The step the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced this week is designed to change that.  The idea is pretty common sense: if you’re a payday lender preparing to give a loan, you should make sure that the borrower can afford to pay it back first.

As Americans, we believe there’s nothing wrong with making a profit.  But there is something wrong with making that profit by trapping hard-working men and women in a vicious cycle of debt.  

Protecting working Americans’ paychecks shouldn’t be a partisan issue.  But the budget Republicans unveiled last week would make it harder, not easier, to crack down on financial fraud and abuse.  And this week, when Republicans rolled out their next economic idea, it had nothing to do with the middle class.  It was a new, more-than-$250 billion tax cut for the top one-tenth of the top one percent of Americans.  That would mean handing out an average tax cut of $4 million a year to just 4,000 Americans per year, and leaving the rest of the country to pay for it.

I don’t think our top economic priority should be helping a tiny number of Americans who are already doing extraordinarily well, and asking everybody else to foot the bill.  I think our top priority should be helping everybody who works hard get ahead.  This country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.

That’s what middle-class economics is all about, and as long as I’m your President, that’s what I’ll keep on fighting to do.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Bolding added.

~


7 comments

  1. President Obama:

    … this week, when Republicans rolled out their next economic idea, it had nothing to do with the middle class.  It was a new, more-than-$250 billion tax cut for the top one-tenth of the top one percent of Americans.  That would mean handing out an average tax cut of $4 million a year to just 4,000 Americans per year, and leaving the rest of the country to pay for it.

    I don’t think our top economic priority should be helping a tiny number of Americans who are already doing extraordinarily well, and asking everybody else to foot the bill.  I think our top priority should be helping everybody who works hard get ahead.

  2. On Friday, March 20, the Supreme Court refused to hear the Frank v Walker case challenging voter id in the state of Wisconsin. So that means that voters will need one of the state approved ids to vote in the next election (it will not be in place for the April 7th election due to concerns about proper implementation).

    The ACLU, however, has not given up on their efforts to help people who are without state-approved ids:

    The American Civil Liberties Union today asked a federal district court to bolster access to the ballot for Wisconsin voters by permitting more types of acceptable identification for voting, and by allowing people who have difficulty obtaining identification to vote by affidavit.

    The motion comes in response to a federal appeals court decision upholding the law, and seeks modifications to help ensure voter access to the polls. It asks that the limited list of acceptable identification be expanded to include IDs for veterans and students attending technical colleges, as well as out-of-state driver licenses.

    Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said:

    “Thousands of Wisconsinites face barriers to the polls due to the limited forms of ID mandated under the state’s strict voter ID law. We’re asking the court to help lift these barriers by allowing a broader range of options.”

    Good luck, Dale!

  3. WATCH: The President and the Creator of “The Wire” About the War on Drugs

    A beat reporter in Baltimore and a state senator from Chicago: two men who saw the disproportionate impact of America’s war on drugs firsthand early in their careers.

    That experience would shape the way they viewed criminal justice in America and the reforms they hope to make a reality for communities that the drug trade – and the way we currently enforce our drug laws – can tear apart.

    This week, that former reporter – David Simon, the creator of HBO’s The Wire – and that former young senator — President Barack Obama — sat down to talk honestly about the challenges law enforcement face and the consequences communities bear from the war on drugs. Listen to what they had to say:  

    The limited resources that police departments must commit to street-level drug enforcement. The growing incarceration rate that disproportionately affects African-American and Latino communities. The generation of young men who are forced to grow up without a father. The President and David delved into what those challenges mean for Americans across the country – and their hopes for a future that delivers a smarter, fairer, and more just system for all.

  4. Alabama police officer who slammed down Indian grandfather indicted on federal civil rights charge

    The U.S. Department of Justice has charged Eric Parker, the Madison police officer who threw an Indian citizen to the ground, with a civil rights violation that carries up to 10 years in prison.

    U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance today said a federal grand jury indicted Parker for deprivation of rights under color of law. She said that includes the constitutional right to be free from “unreasonable force.”

    “Police officers are sworn to uphold the law and protect the public,” said Vance in a prepared statement today. “The public must be able trust the police.”

    The family of the man who was attacked:

    “Mr. Patel and his family are very pleased by the prompt and decisive action of U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance and the federal grand jury,” wrote [the Patel’s attorney Hank] Sherrod. “For the public to trust police officers, it needs to know officers will be held accountable, and the felony civil rights charges filed against Parker, unlike the misdemeanor assault charge being pursued in state court, more accurately reflect the seriousness of Parker’s conduct.”

  5. Molly Ball on Harry Reid’s gritty biography

    Politicians love to play up their humble roots, but Reid’s up-from-nowhere story is hard to beat. He was born in 1939 in Searchlight, Nevada, a blighted little speck in the desert south of Las Vegas whose days as a gold-mining boomtown were already long past. Reid grew up in a shack with no running water, learned to swim at a whorehouse down the road, and hitchhiked 45 miles each way to the nearest high school. His parents were drunks who often fought, and his father eventually killed himself with a shotgun to the head. The closest thing to religion in the Reid home, he wrote in his 2008 memoir, was a quotation from F.D.R. that his mother had pinned to the wall: “We can. We will. We must.”

    Encouraged by his high-school boxing coach, the late Nevada governor Mike O’Callaghan, Reid won a football scholarship to a Utah junior college and went on to become a lawyer.

    One part of the story was confusing to me: she (and others) called it “verbal gaffes” when he called Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan a “political hack,” Clarence Thomas an “embarrassment” and George W. Bush a “liar” and a “loser.”  Sounds like a propensity for telling the truth. :)

    I, for one, will be grateful for his finally using his famous powder and nuking Senate filibusters. His action helped President Obama fill the courts with intelligent men and women who will guide the federal judiciary for years to come.

     

  6. I am not sure how this resonates with his self-reported base, young people. He has already come out in favor of a more muscular military, now he is pandering to the christianists on gay rights. Does he think that the millennial pro-marijuana vote is big enough to overcome everything else?

    Rand Paul Suggests Gay Marriage Is The Result Of A ‘Moral Crisis’ In America

    Rand Paul addressed “a group of pastors and religious leaders at a private prayer breakfast” in Washington D.C. on Thursday about the need for “revival” in America complete with “tent revivals” full of people demanding reform.

    He suggested during the event that the debate about legalizing same-sex marriage is the result of a “moral crisis” in the country.

    Sadly for him, he can’t win anything without the religious right and the religious right has an anti-gay litmus test. Sucks to be you, Rand!!

  7. Mexico Commits To Reduce Emissions 22 Percent, Peak By 2026

    On Friday, Mexico announced that it would reduce greenhouse gas emissions 22 percent below business-as-usual levels by 2030 and peak its emissions by 2026. It registered these commitments, among others, with the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, making it the first developing country to formally submit its post-2020 emissions reduction goals.[…]

    In submitting robust emissions reduction targets, Mexico provides further evidence that there is genuine participation from both developed countries and emerging economies in the effort to transition to a low-carbon world economy.

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