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Economics Greed Money Money in America The Economy

EXPOSED: Elizabeth Warren Calls Out Investment Firms For Lying To Consumers And Congress

Perhaps you’ve seen the commercials that run from time to time on television regarding a rather obscure subject to most of us: the Conflict of Interest rule.

Simply put, this new rule requires that investment advisers act in the best interest of their clients instead of their own. Makes sense, doesn’t it, but the insurance and investment companies affected by the new regulation are now screaming bloody murder and saying the rule is going to lead to the downfall of the entire market.

That just happens to be a gigantic honking lie neatly wrapped in bullcrap.

Also, while these huge companies are out screaming to consumers and Congress how the Conflict of Interest rule means they’re doomed, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Congressman Elijah Cummings happened upon some fascinating information showing that those very same companies are telling their shareholders just the opposite.

According to a letter sent by Warren and Cummings to the Secretary of Labor, Thomas Perez, the new rule is not a problem at all. The Labor Department, it should be noted, will be responsible for enforcing the new regulation, and Warren does not mince words in the letter to Secretary Perez:

“In contrast to their public doomsday predictions, industry leaders have told their own investors that they ‘don’t see this as a significant hurdle,’ ‘will once again respond to marketplace or regulatory changes effectively,’ and that they are well-positioned to ‘adapt to any regulatory framework that emerges.'”

In other words, despite their protestations, these finance and insurance companies are busted by their own words.

The new rule is needed because far too many investment advisers attempt to steer their clients which will earn them the most commission, and to hell with the investor if he or she loses a bundle as a result.

Also noted in the letter are phone calls made by major companies such as Prudential and Transamerica asserting that the new rule is no problem for them to adapt to while those same firms were in front of Congress doing their sadsack routine and asking for delays in implementing the Conflict of Interest rule.

Some things never seem to change: the same banks, investment firms, and insurance companies that very nearly wrecked the American economy in 2008 are now whining because they have to be honest with their clients instead of padding their own nests.

Here’s Senator Warren questioning Secretary Perez late last year on the new regulation:

 

Categories
Business Hopeful Happenings Money in America The Economy

Federal Judge Says Walmart Must Reinstate And Pay Workers Fired For Striking

An administrative law judge with the Labor Relations Board has ordered Walmart to reinstate 16 workers the judge says were unlawfully fired for going on strike against the retailer.

Walmart was also ordered to pay those who were fired back pay and expunge the disciplinary records of 38 other workers who were punished for being part of the strike.

The group OUR Walmart filed a complaint against the world’s largest retailer in 2013 after workers who participated in strikes centered around Wal-Mart’s annual shareholders meeting in Bentonville, Ark., were fired when they called for an annual salary of $25,000 for employees.

Judge Geoffrey Carter ruled that workers from 26 Walmart stores across the United States were illegally punished merely because they took part in the protests.

Additionally, Judge Carter ordered that managers at the stores affected must hold staff meetings and  workers must be informed of their right to strike. He also ruled that store managers must read from a script which says they promise not to threaten or discipline workers for exercising their rights to protest or strike.

Walmart argued that the strikes were hit-and-run, intermittent work stoppages and therefore not protected under federal labor law. The company said it plans to appeal the judge’s ruling to the full NLRB. Company spokesman Kory Lundberg said Wal-Mart “will pursue all of our options to defend the company because we believe our actions were legal and justified.”

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

Categories
Money in America Politics

Rand Paul: Income Inequality Comes From ‘Some People Working Harder Than Others’

This has not been a good week for Rand Paul. He got his clock cleaned in a faceoff with Chris Christie during Thursday’s debate, and now he’s gone on Fox News and proven how completely out of touch with the average American he truly is.

Speaking to Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday, the Kentucky Senator was asked to defend his flat tax plan, Paul declared that income inequality in the United States is caused by some people working harder than others.

Sure, because we all know that a factory worker who has to bend, lift, and stretch all day, sometimes carrying items of great weight, doesn’t work nearly as hard as a stock broker on Wall Street who sits in front of a computer all day.

But let’s give Dr. Paul the rope and allow him to hang himself:

“The thing is, income inequality is due to some people working harder and selling more thing. If people voluntarily buy more of your stuff, you’ll have more money.”

At which point I’m pretty sure Chris Wallace wanted to do an obligatory facepalm, but he maintained his composure and asked:

“Doesn’t your plan massively increase income inequality?”

Paul’s completely incorrect response was:

“It’s a fallacious notion to say, ‘Oh, rich people get more money back in a tax cut.’ If you cut taxes 10 percent, 10 percent of a million is more than 10 percent of a thousand dollars. So, obviously, people who pay more in taxes will get more back.”

An analysis by the Tax Foundation found that under Paul’s reverse Robin Hood tax plan, households earning more than $1 million per year would see their incomes rise by 13 percent. Households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 per year, meanwhile, would see their income rise only by 3 percent. In other words, income inequality would actually increase under a Paul presidency.

Then Paul compounded the problem with his logic by saying:

“We all end up working for people who are more successful than us. And that’s a good thing, that more money will be back in the economy.”

Now I don’t claim to be an economist, but I did learn in college economics class that what Rand Paul is proposing is nothing short of what my grandfather called “horsefeathers.” Rand Paul is up to his eyes in horsefeathers.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

Categories
Money in America Politics

Former President Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is An ‘Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery’

We are, in my opinion, so fortunate to have a man like Jimmy Carter to speak the truth and call it like he sees it. That’s one of the things I admire most about this great man and former President of the United States.

Once again the 39th President is speaking out on what he sees happening in America, especially as it relates to how money controls the political process.

Speaking on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program, President Carter was asked specifically about the Supreme Court saying in the Citizens United ruling that corporations have a First Amendment right of speech which allows them to donate obscene amounts of money to campaigns. Carter did not mince his words on the issue:

“It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president.”

Yes, he said exactly what so many have been saying for years now: the United States is now nothing more than an oligarchy, where a small group of people have control of the country. The Koch brothers, with their untold billions, have a much louder voice when it comes to what laws are passed in Washington than you or I do.

But President Carter didn’t stop there. He went on to say:

“And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.”

You’ve heard the expression, The best Congress money can buy? That’s exactly what we have today in the United States. It has to end, because if it doesn’t, no one will ever again believe in the political process, apathy will grow, and we will all wind up as nothing more than the cogs in a machine controlled by a few filthy rich men and women.

President Carter is trying to warn us. We would be wise to heed his warning.

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.

Categories
Money in America

Billionaire Says You Should Feel Sorry For The ‘Disadvantage’ Faced By Rich Kids

David Rubenstein has a net worth of about $2.9 billion. He is a private-equity mogul who also happens to be co-founder and a board member of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms. This man has wealth, privilege, power, and also likes to whine of how bad things are for the children of the rich.

More on that in a moment, but first to lay a little groundwork for perspective. Carlyle Group has long been known for its associations with and contributions to politicians in across the world, most notably in the United States. As Paul Alexander of Huffington Post has written:

“Carlyle is notorious for its association with politicians. From 1998 until 2003, former president George H.W. Bush made speeches for Carlyle, at $80,000 a piece, and served on its Asia Advisory Board. From 1993 until 2005, James A. Baker III, Bush’s secretary of state who had served in the Reagan administration, was Carlyle senior counselor. From 1989 until 2005, Frank Carlucci, Ronald Reagan’s last secretary of defense who was once deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was Carlyle chairman and chairman emeritus.”

But wait, there’s more:

“In the early 2000s, critics leveled charges of cronyism and conflict of interest when United Defense, owned by Carlyle, received lucrative government contracts from the administration of George W. Bush, who once sat on the board of directors of Caterair, an early Carlyle acquisition, while his defense secretary was Donald Rumsfeld, Carlucci’s wrestling partner and roommate at Princeton University. Carlyle profited enormously, thanks to those contracts, when it took United Defense public in late 2001.”

Starting to get the picture? Rubenstein, with his massive amounts of money and access to power, can literally change policy with a phone call.

And now he wants us to feel sorry for his children, whom, of whom he recently remarked:

“One of the complicating things of life if you’re successful is — ‘What about your children?’ My wife and I have three children. They’ve grown up in what you could call an ‘advantaged’ upbringing. I grew up in what could’ve been called a ‘disadvantaged’ upbringing. But actually, in hindsight, it was extremely advantaged.”

Aw, the poor wittle billionaire kids. Who will weep for them? Not me, that’s for damn sure.

Rubenstein added:

“When you grow up in a wealthy family, it’s much much harder to feel that what you’ve achieved is on your own. And it’s much much harder for people to think that what you’ve achieved is on your own. So my children have a bit of a disadvantage — yes, they have money and they have a good education and so forth — but they have to achieve things on their own. And it’s a much harder thing for them to do that.”

Is it? Well, perhaps they’d like to donate some of their wealth to the millions of poor, underprivileged children right here in the United States. Or maybe you’d like to give about $2.8 billion of your own wealth to charities that help the needy.

No? Yeah, I didn’t think so. So keep your pathetic whining to yourself.

h/t Addicting Info

This article was originally published by the same author at LiberalAmerica.org.