Forget MAGA. Trump’s new acronym should be PTRSTP: Protect The Rich, Screw The Poor.
From the Republican Tax Scam giveaway to the 1% to his dismantling of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), everything the President has managed to accomplish during his term so far has been in complete opposition to the populist tone he set during his campaign.
The latest example is his signing of a repeal of a regulation forbidding predatory auto-lending practices that disproportionately affect minority borrowers, according to an article on The Hill today.
Trump signed an unprecedented congressional resolution rolling back an informal guidance rule from the CFPB relating to dealer markups on auto loans from third parties as additional income for car dealers. It marks the first time that Congress has used its power to rescind an informal federal guideline and could be seen as an encroachment on the executive branch’s territory.
A small group of turncoat Democrats joined Republicans in utilizing the Congressional Review Act which gives a simple majority in Congress the power to eliminate any federal regulation and bans the agency that issued the rule from enacting a substantially similar measure in the future.
The CFPB enacted the informal rule in 2013 after studies found that car dealers were consistently charging minority customers higher markup rates than non-minorities with similar credit ratings.
While it was not a formal regulation, the CFPB informed dealers that they could be subject to lawsuits under anti-discrimination lending statutes and initiated several cases to show the seriousness of their intent, including a $100 million judgment against Ally Financial and multi-million dollar cases against Honda and Toyota.
The Orwellian statements made by Republican lawmakers as justification for the repeal of a rule that ensured that all consumers would be treated fairly and equally were staggeringly misleading.
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) cited “the hard work of Republicans in Congress” in stopping “a rogue Bureau using its unchecked powers to sidestep due process and harm the very consumers it is charged with protecting.”
How ensuring equality and fairness in lending harms consumers was not an issue that he bothered explaining.
Coming on the heels of last November’s repeal of the CFPB’s regulation prohibiting banks and credit card companies from requiring their customers to use arbitration rather than the courts in any disputes and the repeal’s stripping victimized consumers of the right to join class-action lawsuits against banks such as Wells Fargo that defrauded customers by creating fake accounts in their names to meet sales targets, Trump and his Republican cronies have abandoned any pretense of working for the good of the average citizen.
It’s time to face the facts, since the Supreme court decision in Citizen’s United gave corporations the right to contribute an unlimited flow of cash to political campaigns, the United States has become an autocratic oligarchy. If enough people realize this and vote to change the system, perhaps there’s still time to reverse this course before the tools to do so are taken away from us.
Until then, expect more of Trump’s PTRSTP policies.
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