Wednesday, January 6, 2010

America Needs Consumer Protection and Financial Reform Now!

It’s hard to believe that a year after the American financial system nearly collapsed due to corporate greed, shady lending practices and shoddy regulatory oversight, Congress has yet to pass a financial reform bill. However, we are moving in the right direction with the recent passage by the House of Representatives which approved a financial reform bill intended to re-regulate Wall Street and increase protections for Main Street.
The bill, which passed in a 223-202 vote, would create a new federal agency dedicated to protecting consumers that would police consumer credit products like mortgages and credit cards. It also establishes new rules for the trading of derivatives and increases the transparency of the credit-rating process -- two previously under-regulated parts of the economy that played a large role in last year's economic collapse.
What is very disturbing was that not a single Republican voted for the bill. Twenty-seven Democrats broke with the rest of their party to vote against it. I would think there would be bipartisan support for financial reform because, without it, America’s economy is vulnerable and susceptible to another financial disaster of epic proportions. But, politics and lobbyists continue to undermine this important legislation.
Despite the millions Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce spent fighting the will of the American consumers, the House of Representatives found the political will and courage to pass the proposed financial reform legislation and send it on to the Senate for their deliberation and vote.
While the proposed legislation will disappointed some consumer groups, the American Consumer Council strongly endorses the reform legislation and encourages the United States Senate to pass it.

About the Author: Thomas Hinton is president of the American Consumer Council, a non-profit consumer education organization which administers ACC’s Green C™ Certification Program. He can be reached at

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