Why is the stock market zooming up so high?
Because the Trump administration is gutting consumer protections, most notably against the big banks, so the banks can more freely commit fraud and fleece customers like you and me without being held accountable.
Republicans just voted to end consumer protection rules that ban banks from forcing people into arbitration after banks defraud them. The rule strips Americans of their right to go to court to get justice against fraudulent activity, theft and other wrongdoing by big banks.
Colorado Senator Cory Gardner(R) and Representative Scott Tipton (R) both voted for a measure that makes it impossible for consumers to take legal action against banks that rip them off. Every single Democrat and two Republicans voted against the bill, making the vote in the Senate 50-50, so Vice President Mike Pence stepped in to vote in favor of Wall Street and the banks and break the tie.
And boy, do the big banks rip people off.
Massive wrongdoing, massive fines, less protection for Americans
Globally, big banks have paid $321 billion (yes, that’s “billion” with a “b”) in fines for illegal activity since 2008, the year of the big financial meltdown. Financial institutions’ illegal activity has included manipulating currency, stealing money from customers’ accounts and using it to open unauthorized credit and savings accounts and then illegally charging customers fees for them, illegally seizing cars that belong to members of the U.S. armed services, scraping money off of retired peoples’ pension accounts, colluding to fix fees, laundering money for corrupt dictators, rogue states, drug cartels and sanctioned corporations, manipulating markets, financing terrorists, manipulating the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR), making home mortgages with interest rates that become unaffordable after the first year, and lots more.
Some argue that big financial institutions exist in a culture of crime, but rarely does anyone go to jail for bank crime.
The Obama administration attempted to fix this lack of oversight and accountability by creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to make sure banking customers are treated fairly, monitor the big banks and pursue charges against them for illegal activities. But the fines became so big and so frequent that the banks started seeking help to stop the government from holding them accountable.
That’s where the Republicans came in.
The bill Republicans passed allows big banks to force people into arbitration instead of going to court — where the banks choose the arbitrators, loading the dice in their favor — where consumers almost never win and where fines or punishments, if any, rarely fit the big banks’ crimes.
So while people are consumed with the awful things Trump has been tweeting, Wall Street is quietly gaining the upper hand against consumers, who are losing in the Republicans’ ever-deepening swamp.