The Wolf Guards the Sheep

February 3, 2010

By Terry Smiljanich:

Our lawmakers have turned protecting consumers into a game of smoke and mirrors.  Just who exactly are they really protecting?  Let’s dig deeper.

Remember that legislation Congress passed last May to help curb credit card company abuses (like raising interest rates through the roof), but then conveniently put off the effective date until February, 2010? And when credit card companies took advantage of that delay and went on a binge of rate increases, remember that attempt to correct the situation by advancing the effective date up to December, 2009?  So what ever happened to that?

The House actually moved forward and passed the remedial legislation.  And the Senate? It took the issue of moving up the effective date under consideration.  Well, guess who was put in charge of looking out for our interests against the credit card companies?  None other than the Senator from the Loan Shark Capital of the World.

How did this happen?

Consumer Warning Network has written about the legislation to rein in the financial institutions and about the belated attempt to speed up the effective date of this legislation.  After the House passed it, the remedial bill was sent to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing & Urban Affairs, chaired by Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut. The subcommittee responsible for holding hearings on the matter is the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions.

There, the bill, meant to help us all by halting the ravenous actions of credit card companies, died a slow death of neglect. Now that it is already February, 2010, any chance at remedying the situation sooner is long gone.

So, who is the Chairman of the Subcommittee appointed to look out for the interests of us all in these credit card matters? Senator Tim Johnson, Democrat from South Dakota.  The good Senator from South Dakota is our principal guardian against being taken merciless advantage of by credit card companies. No hearings, however, were held, and the bill was never heard from again.

Go figure – Thanks again South Dakota

Wait a minute – South Dakota? Isn’t that the haven for credit card companies, the paradise where no pesky usury laws limit the ability of the companies to raise interest rates to criminal levels? The location of the new headquarters for Wells Fargo’s worldwide operations, and the place where the door is always held open for credit card companies? Its Senator is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee overlooking any legislation that might affect these pampered residents of the Mount Rushmore State? Yes, it’s true.

Not surprisingly, Senator Johnson’s biggest campaign contributors include JP Morgan Chase and other banking and insurance companies.

Perhaps the Senator sings a lullaby each night to his financial constituents: “Sleep, my little ones, sleep. Thy father guards the sheep.”