Tag: David Dayen

Unsanitized: Richard Cordray on the Imminent Financial Scam Crisis

First Response On Tuesday, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and four colleagues on the Senate Banking Committee registered their dissent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s response to the coronavirus crisis. CFPB “has used this pandemic as an opportunity to protect big banks, payday lenders, debt collectors, and other corporate interests,” the Senators wrote. It’s been striking. CFPB has urged banks to offer consumers small-dollar loans with no restrictions on interest rates; eliminated reporting requirements proving anti-discrimination compliance for mortgage lenders and banks; lifted enforcement of the Fair Credit Reporting Act; and told mortgage servicing companies that they did not have ... Read more

Unsanitized: Amazon’s Friend Network – The American Prospect

First Response On Monday, as part of a continuing wave of wildcat strikes by low-wage workers across the nation, employees at Amazon’s JFK8 warehouse on Staten Island walked out for a second time, after several more workers at the facility contracted the coronavirus. Christian Smalls, the organizer who was fired for leading the first walkout, returned to participate in the second. Amazon has promised more safety steps for its workers, including temperature checks at facilities and masks for workers. But Amazon’s reputation, and its regard for employees who are more loyal to their personal health and the health of their ... Read more

Unsanitized: Gunfight at the Supply Chain Corral

First Response The medical supply chain has become like something out of an improbable science fiction film, with renegade brokers and dead-of-night thievery. The United States has been likened to pirates, confiscating shipments of masks and gowns on tarmacs around the world. And profiteering middlemen are hiking prices up to 15-fold for basic equipment. This story of the assistant comptroller in Illinois rushing to a drop point at a McDonald’s off I-55 with a $3.4 million check, or Massachusetts using the New England Patriots’ private plane to retrieve a shipment from China, epitomizes the chaos. In theory, these stories shouldn’t ... Read more

Unsanitized: How People Seeking Bankruptcy Will Suffer in the Pandemic

First Response Max Gardner is one of America’s great bankruptcy attorneys. For years, he’s been running a “bankruptcy boot camp” for his fellow attorneys, in his wooded redoubt in the hills of North Carolina. Normally the event has a few dozen lawyers. He did his first webinar boot camp about a week ago: 776 attorneys signed up. “I really fear something worse than the Great Depression,” Gardner told me. “Every system is going to be overwhelmed.” Bankruptcy has so far been spared this crush; new filings are kind of a lagging indicator, since it is a last resort for people ... Read more

Unsanitized: Why Banks Don’t Want to Help Small Businesses

First Response The small business lending program from last week’s survival aid package, known officially as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), started this morning. In true “got the book report in under the wire” format, the Small Business Administration issued an “interim final rule” for the program last night. The rule asks for comments and also goes immediately into effect, and these are emergency times with speed of the essence, so I’ll allow it. The rule intends to cut off growing unrest from lenders leading up to the PPP launch, threatening quick relief for millions of small businesses in the ... Read more

Unsanitized: Aid Package Status Update

First Response Twice as many Americans filed for jobless benefits last week as the week before, and the week before was several orders of magnitude beyond the all-time record. The astonishing number of 6,648,000 unemployment filers reflects an economy in a coma during this widespread forced distancing. Over 10 million workers have now been affected. The deep freeze, to date, has only one offset: the economic survival package passed last week. Congress typically moves in slow motion but there have been some developments in the past seven days, though while the speed is positive not everything being done matches that. ... Read more

Unsanitized: It’s the First of the Month

First Response I’m not really a fan of April 1 in general, with its rollout of amateur comedians and brand social media campaigns. But I’m really not a fan of this April 1, the first day since the coronavirus crisis really rocked America that most residential and commercial rents and mortgages are due. This is the biggest financial expense for most ordinary people and businesses. None of the relief in the $2.2 trillion survival aid package passed last week has gone out the door. And many have spent several weeks without salaries or revenues; those in the underground or cash ... Read more

Unsanitized: Stimulus, Episode IV, A New Hope

First Response With President Trump extending his guidelines for social distancing to the end of April, and the expectation that will need to be extended again given the unchecked nature of the virus throughout much of the country, talk has turned to another economic survival and rescue package, on top of the two smaller relief bills and the $2.2 trillion monster passed last week. Well, at least, talk has turned within one caucus. That would be House Democrats, who now want to bargain over all the things Republicans rejected in the first three bills. On a conference call yesterday, House ... Read more

Unsanitized: Covidien’s Story Is Corporate America’s Story

First Response It was 2010 and Newport Medical Instruments, a small medical device company in Costa Mesa, California, was excited. They had just signed a federal contract to design and build up to 40,000 mobile ventilators, which would be placed into the national stockpile in the interest of pandemic preparedness. After SARS and bird flu and swine flu, the government needed to steel itself should a deadly infectious disease go viral. Newport agreed to deliver the devices at a low-cost, not only to maximize federal purchases but also to build a reputation that could increase sales to other countries ... Read more

Unsanitized: Essential Employees at K Street Lobby Firms Go to Work

First Response The coronavirus bailout bill passed Congress and was signed into law yesterday. The House approved the package by voice vote, even though Rep. Bob Massie (R-KY), a libertarian, asked for a roll call and everyone was standing there. When society is unrecognizable in a few years, lots of House members can say they wouldn’t have voted for it, the way millions of people claim they saw Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game. We’re only now learning what goodies were tucked into this bill. There’s an obscure tax change worth $170 billion to real estate moguls, along with other corporate ... Read more