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  • ‘Corporations Are People’ and They Don’t Want You to Vote

    Government Politics Blog 

    It’s hard to miss the coincidence: those who want to limit voting hours and demand stricter voter ID protocols also believe that corporations are people. They want to control women’s bodies, and pay them less than men. They’re against higher taxes for the wealthy, and they want to do away with consumer protections. And make no mistake about it, this is a consumer issue. Are they racist and ageist when it comes to voting? Of […]

  • Hurricane Sandy, You Got My Home, but Not My Identity

    Blog Identity Theft Money 

    Like millions of Americans, I was hammered by Hurricane Sandy. The home that I own on the New Jersey shore was obliterated by the storm. It is nothing but a pile of rubble. Gone. While I have 30 years of memories, there is nothing left but the memories. It is incredibly painful. I saw it coming and did the best I could to prepare for it, and yet I could never be fully prepared. I […]

  • FEMA, Dodd-Frank and the CFPB: It’s All the Same to Mitt Romney

    Government Politics Blog 

    When the long-predicted storm finally hit us, it struck with so much destructive force that it caught even grizzled New Yorkers by surprise. The storm’s surge quickly overran our defenses, overwhelming all emergency responders, causing mayhem across an unprecedented swath of territory, and leaving millions of homes underwater in its wake. I could be talking about Hurricane Sandy, but I’m not. I’m talking about the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008. Four years ago, the […]

  • Back From the Vomitorium: The Looting of the Mortgage Settlement Agreement

    Personal Finance 

    States are looting the Mortgage Settlement Fund, and the odds are good that you or someone you know is getting robbed — for the second time. According to recent reports, politicians, not bankers, are the culprits this time around — siphoning billions from that historic settlement and pumping it into their broken state budgets. Instead of “manning up” and changing their diet, they’re taking a cue from ancient Rome: After a quick trip to the […]

  • When Debt Collectors Attack (Disabled American War Heroes)

    Government Blog Personal Finance Money 

    When it comes to scandalous behavior by debt collectors, I thought I’d heard it all. This is an industry known for its bottom feeders, who routinely bully and intimidate the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Many debt collectors berate and humiliate people into paying off debts that never existed, and pursue people for years, even after the law, common sense, and human decency all demand that they cease and desist. Now, not all debt […]

  • Why Romney the Closer Is a Consumer Nightmare

    Government Politics Blog 

    Politicians often have a lazy relationship with the truth. Everyone knows that these folks will say damn near anything to get elected. The Romney-Ryan ticket has put new luster on this homespun truism, revealing a brave new world of lying — beyond Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck and the echo chamber — that will mean trouble for America if the GOP retakes the White House in November. In my field, the same tendency takes the form […]

  • Two Sure Things in Life: Death & Facebook

    Social Media 

    What happens to our Facebook profile when we die? Who gets to connect with us on LinkedIn, post pictures of us on Pinterest, or view our photos on Flickr after we have shuffled off this mortal coil and left these worlds — both the physical and the virtual — behind? These are brand-new questions that privacy experts, social media companies, political leaders, and families and friends of the deceased are all grappling with. The answers […]

  • Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics and Paul Ryan

    Politics Blog 

    Lies, as Mark Twain famously observed, come in three flavors. If he were around today, Paul Ryan would have inspired him to create a fourth category. Everyone knows Paul Ryan is a liar. He’s the guy who boasted about running a “two hour and 50-something” marathon, placing him on par with the guy who took 85th place in this year’s Olympics marathon. Branded the GOP’s “leading intellectual,” policy wonk and budgetary expert, Ryan seems to […]

  • What Mitt Romney and Liar Loans Have in Common (Be Very Afraid)

    Politics Blog 

    As I watched Governor Romney in the Presidential debate Wednesday night I was reminded of a financial tactic the candidate’s political supporters and financial backers on Wall Street used during the mortgage boom–the one that netted them billions of dollars while simultaneously pushing the American economy off a cliff. I’m talking about the liar loan, a line of credit based on smiling assertions without a shred of proof–the practice that helped flatten the mortgage market […]

  • Banks Still Raking In the Profits from Overdraft Fees

    Financial Literacy Personal Finance 

    If you’ve ever witnessed a great white shark attack, you know the meaning of the word “relentless.” The giant creature’s dorsal fin traces a circle in the water as it spots a vulnerable victim; the shark makes a first strike, then a second and a third, coolly and methodically; the victim struggles, weakens and finally succumbs to the massive loss of blood. Some victims survive, of course — but for many, once marked for attack, […]