Hensarling lies about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on NPR

Jeb Hensarling is resorting to “alternative facts” in his quest to drag the US back to the bad old days of “innovative” mortgages and unregulated financial companies that gave us the Great Recession.

Jeb Hensarling (image credit: Dallas Morning News)

Jeb Hensarling (image credit: Dallas Morning News)

Last week I heard an interview on Morning Edition that had me fuming at my radio. Steve Inskeep interviewed Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) about Hensarling’s goal to eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CPFB). After listening to the interview, I had a question for Mr. Hensarling: are you a liar, or do you actually believe your own bullshit?

Hensarling, who has been pursuing the destruction of the CPFB as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said

Somebody has to protect consumers, not just from Wall Street but protect them from Washington as well. And the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has hurt consumers. Free checking at banks has been cut in half. Banking fees have gone up. Working people are finding it more difficult to get mortgages.

The bottom line is the best consumer protection are competitive, innovative markets that are transparent.

Yes, it’s true that some working people are having a hard time finding mortgages, but it’s not because mortgage markets aren’t transparent, competitive, or innovative. It’s because those working people are not making enough money to afford the house they want, or have poor credit histories. Free checking isn’t available as much any more because banks are no longer allowed to make up the costs of the free checking by charging exorbitant overdraft fees. In other words, the CPFB is doing exactly what it’s chartered to do – protect consumers from predatory banks and bankers. Continue reading

Nota Bene #123: Behold the Chickenosaurus

“There ought to be limits to freedom.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #119: Think! It Ain't Illegal Yet

“My wife and I were happy for twenty years. Then we met.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #118: VOTE!

“I am not fit for this office and should never have been here.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #113: Seth's Near-Death

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #103: Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse, Betelgeuse

“To take people from the music world and give them the same kind of credibility that you give me, Morgan Freeman, Laurence Fishburne, Forest Whitaker—that’s like an aberration. I know there’s some young actor sitting in New York or L.A. who’s spent half of his life learning how to act and sacrificing to learn his craft but isn’t going to get his opportunity because of some ‘actor’ who’s been created.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #101: Your Pal, Mike S.

“The guys who are shooting films now are technically brilliant, but there’s no content in their films. I marvel at what I see and wish I could have done a shot like that. But shots are secondary for my films, and with some of these films, it’s all about the shots. What’s the point? I’m not sure people know what points to make.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #100: Il Planetario di Figaro

Wow, 100 issues of Nota Bene! Props to Russ for helping me for a while with this nifty little S&R feature. Never mind all that now, let’s get on with this issue. “What splendid buildings our architects would be able to execute if only they could finally be less obedient to gravity!” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #97: toDwI'ma' qoS yItIvqu'!

“To be truly free, and truly to appreciate its freedom, a society must be literate.” Continue reading

False conservatives lie that Fannie and Freddie caused the subprime mortgage crisis

Some conservatives have been blasting Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as well as the Community Reinvestment Act, as the source of the mortgage crisis and subsequent financial meltdown. On Tuesday, October 7, Daniel Gross wrote a commentary on Slate titled Subprime Suspects in which he names (with quotations so they can’t claim otherwise) some of the people responsible for this: John McCain, Charles Krouthammer of the Washington Post, and Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Gross’ proposition in his Slate piece is that, when Cavuto says “Loaning to minorities and risky folks is a disaster.”, Cavuto is blaming the poor and brown among us for the financial meltdown. And if that’s not racism, Gross doesn’t know what else it is.

Unfortunately, the general tone of Gross’ commentary is a bit too confrontational in order to convince most non-liberals that he’s right (even though, if you can get past the tone, he clearly is). That’s where a new piece (Private sector loans, not Fannie or Freddie, triggered crisis) out of McClatchy comes in. Continue reading

The Weekly Carboholic: oil prices fall, but not because of Bush


On Monday, President Bush announced that he had reversed an executive order originally put in place by his father that restricted drilling on the outer continental shelf (OCS).

Yesterday, crude oil prices fell $6.44, the second largest dollar drop in history.

Coincidence? Larry Kudlow at the National Review would have the American people believe that the two are intimately related. That assumes that there wasn’t anything else going on yesterday that could have driven down prices, and it assumes that a large dollar drop in crude oil prices is the same as a large percentage drop. Both assumptions are wrong. Continue reading


I think blogs are dedicated to cruelty, they’re dedicated to dishonesty, they’re dedicated to speed.

— Buzz Bissinger, author of “Friday Night Lights” and other bestsellers, castigating blogs on HBO’s “Costas Now”; May 1.

It’s one of the bigger Cadillacs. I’ve got a desk in it. It’s like an airplane. … I want them to feel that they are somebody and their congressman is somebody. And when they say, ‘This is nice,’ it feels good.

— Rep. Charles Rangell, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, describing the 17-foot-long, 300-horsepower, 2004 Cadillac DeVille he leases for for $777.54 a month; House rules permit members to lease any vehicle at taxpayer expense; May 1.
Continue reading

Paulson's rescue plan: Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic

By Martin Bosworth

I was deeply amused to read the breathless news coverage of Hammerin’ Hank Paulson’s “ambitious” and “sweeping” plans to restructure the federal financial regulatory structure. It says something about how far the goalposts of this country’s discourse have been moved towards rampant, unchecked, unbridled “law of the jungle” financial pillaging that modest reforms like these are considered a major move.

If these pathetic hot-flashing stenographers that call themselves “reporters” would actually take a closer look at the plan itself–hell, even just the fact sheet–they would see that not only is Paulson’s reform agenda miniscule at best, but that it’s a shell game, a distraction designed to accomplish the long-held mantra of the Bush administration–centralizing federal power and weakening consumer protections at the state level. Continue reading

Countrywide CEO foregoes plush payoff package–but don't feel too sorry for him

By Martin Bosworth

Why is this man smiling?

Angelo Mozilo, the well-tanned and always smiling soon-to-be-ex-CEO of failed mortgageangelo_mozilo.jpg lender Countrywide, announced today that he would magnanimously give up his massive severance package for running his company into the ground and being bought out by Bank of America:

“My primary focus today — as it has been for the past 40 years — is to do what is in the best interests of Countrywide’s employees, customers and shareholders,” Mr. Mozilo said. “I believe this decision is the right thing to do as Countrywide works toward the successful completion of the merger with Bank of America”…Mr. Mozilo would be entitled to $36.4 million in cash severance pay and $400,000 per year in consulting fees, as well as private airplane use and other perquisites. These are the amounts and benefits he will be forfeiting. Continue reading

Fed prepares to “move the goalposts” to delay recession; Greenspan says “Not my fault”

By Martin Bosworth

The phrase “moving the goalposts” has been applied most heavily in public discourse of late to the Bush regime’s “strategery” regarding the Iraq war. Through the “surge” and constant reiteration that things are getting better in Iraq, Bush hopes to delay a full-scale drawdown just long enough for him to leave office, thus saddling his successor (likely a Democrat) with two choices–maintain troop levels in Iraq and be crucified by the anti-war movement, or bring troops home and be accused of “cutting and running” by the conservative base.

This kind of crass political calculus isn’t limited to the Iraq quagmire, though–you can see it in the news today that the Federal Reserve is telegraphing a cut in interest rates at its next meeting: Continue reading