The Consumer Federal Protection Bureau’s decision to regulate credit agencies is a significant step to protect consumers. Until now, there was no central entity in the federal government to oversee the major credit reporting agencies. The credit market affects just about every American family through car loans, mortgage applications, and more minor lines of credit, yet reporting system is flawed. For the average person, appealing a simple mistake on a credit report can be a long, onerous process.
The name Agency in Credit Reporting Agency almost connotes a sense of authority. It may even lend the impression to consumers that these credit agencies are quasi-governmental agencies, or that they are at least important enough to be regulated by the government. After all, an “agency” sounds pretty important and official. Surely, these “agencies” are accountable to consumers, aren’t they?
The truth is credit agencies are businesses. As consumer expert Clark Howard explained in an interview, we, the consumers, “are not [even] the customers.” Banks, credit card companies, and even potential employers are the ones who pay for our credit reports. They are the customers.
As a result, a consumer’s satisfaction with the accuracy of their credit reports is not one of the credit reporting agency’s primary concerns. As Clark Howard explains, credit agencies simply “slice and dice our credit information. Their only real objective is to package and sell, without an interest in [ensuring] that the information is wholly accurate.”
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Jimmy Dahroug: Oversight of Credit Agencies Long Overdue
(Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
If you haven’t entered the First Quadrennial Recovering Politician Electoral College Contest, you’ve got until tomorrow, Tuesday at 6:00 AM EST. Here are the details for your chance to win 2 FREE lower-arena tickets to the defending national champion University of Kentucky Wildcat basketball team’s official home opener at Lexington’s Rupp Arena, versus Lafayette University, on Friday, November 16 at 7:00 PM. Remember, the first step is to become a member of the RP’s new Facebook page, Facebook.com/RecoveringPol, and provide your predictions in the post marked “Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post.” The award will be presented to the individual who most accurately predicts the final Electoral College vote, with tiebreakers of predicting the Senate and Housr partisan compositions after the election.
The 2008 Electoral College Map
As a service to all of you procrastinators out there, our experts — contributing RPs and friends of RP — have weighed in on their predictions. You can choose to go with one of their picks, or stick with your own and feel smarter than a recovering politician.
So here goes. Feel free to comment below, but remember according to the rules, only comments at the Designated RP Electoral College Contest Post at the RP Facebook page will be qualified for the grand prize.
The RP: Obama 303, Romney 235. (Obama wins WI, NV, IA, NH, CO, VA and OH; Romney squeaks out the narrowest victory in FL); Senate: 50 Dems, 48 GOP, 2 Indy; House: 239 GOP, 196 Dems
Contributing RP Rod Jetton:
President- Romney 277 and Obama 261. Romney takes the true toss ups of NH, CO, IA and WI, while holding the safer states of FL, NC and VA. Obama keeps OH, MN, MI, NV and PA. The auto bailout keeps Obama with Ohio, but Ryan and the debates help Romney hold WI which Ohio is not required on their path to victory. PA will be close but O will hold on there. R wins popular vote 52-48. With unemployment at 7.9% and even worse, gas prices up over $3.50, it is amazing that any incumbent could even keep it close. When we add in how Obama seemed to have a bit of the Bush 42 attitude of not really wanting to mess with a re-election campaign plus the Libya debacle it is hard to see Obama winning. Romney is a solid steady campaigner that nobody loves, but he has a good resume and seems to be up to the job of fixing the economy.
Senate- D-52 and R-46. (I-2) The Republicans will pick up a few seats but the weak candidates will keep them from taking the majority. My state of Missouri is a good example of that. McCaskill was in bad shape and should have been defeated in 2012 but with all Akin’s messaging problems she is poised to survive.
House – R-237 and D- 198. There will not be a big change in the House and Romney’s debates and October surge will help Republicans down ticket in many of the battleground seats.
Jordan Stivers (Friend of RP): Obama 280, Romney 258; Senate: R-47, D – 51, I-2; House: R-237, D-198
Contributing RP John Y. Brown, III: Election Day will be followed by Wednesday….and, if all goes as planned, followed by Thursday. Short of cataclysmic fallout on Tuesday night, Thursday more than likely will be followed by Friday. And then we will probably see something resembling what we used to call “the weekend.”
Friend of RP Zac Byer (traveling with VP GOP nominee Paul Ryan): My head still says Romney tops out at 256, but after visiting 6 swing states in the last 56 hours, and my gut says otherwise: Romney: 277, Obama: 261; 51 D, 47 R, 2 I; 238 R, 197 D
Contributing RP Jeff Smith: Obama 277, Romney 261; Senate: R-48, D – 50+2I; House: R-240, D-195
Ron Granieri (Friend of RP): Obama: 280, Romney: 258; Senate: 51-49 Dems (with independents); House: 245-190 Reps
Contributing RP Nick Paleologos: Obama 275. Romney 263.
Steven Schulman (Friend of RP): Whatever Nate Silver says.
Contributing RP Jimmy Dahroug: Obama 275, Romney 263; Senate: Dems 51 GOP 47; 2 Indy; House: GOP 241 Dems 194
David Snyder (Friend of RP): Obama wins 290-248. Senate – 51 Democrats 47 Republicans, 2 Independents. House – 234 Republicans, 201 Democrats
Contributing RP Greg Harris: Obama: 332, Romney: 206 (Polls indicate presidential race is neck and neck among “likely” voters. Obama’s lead is greater among “registered” voters. These votes, under-represented in polling, will redound to Obama’s advantage in states like FL and CO.); Senate: R-44, D – 54, I – 2; House: R-232, D-203
Robert Kahne (Friend of RP): Obama: 332, Romney: 206. Senate: D:53 (inc 2 IND) R: 47. House: D: 205, Rep: 230
Contributing RP Jason Grill: Obama gets 294 and Romney 244; Senate – 52 D 46 R 2 I; House – 234 R 201 D.
And watch this for more of Jason’s analysis:
As a fan of Christopher Guest Movies, I was pretty pleased.
Sure, I kind of see Jake Gyllenhaal, or the guy who plays Gabe on The Office.
Just watch Best in Show or A Mighty Wind – then we can have a real debate!
As a strategist, I was pretty shocked.
Paul Ryan was one of the last people I thought Romney would choose. In my mind, it really came down to Portman and Rubio.
I think Romney already had the base on board (due in part to the Supreme Court ruling) – and Portman or Rubio (among others) could have helped pleased the conservative as well as helped in other ways and without exposing Romney to such risk.
In terms of substance, I’m not even sure Romney shares that much in common with Paul Ryan. While both would like to call themselves fiscal conservatives – Romney can be considered pragmatic, and his risks are calculated. That’s just not Paul Ryan.
From what I can see, Ryan poses such unnecessary risk. There may be some critical information we’re just not privy to – even intangibles like chemistry, rapport… Those qualities do matter.
Still – this is a big risk for Romney.
As a Democrat, I hope the Obama team does not underestimate Paul Ryan.
1. Due in part to economic uncertainty, voters took a chance on Obama in 2008. Although Obama can argue the Country would have been worse off without his actions in office, voters are still feeling a challenging economy. They may be willing to take a risk with Ryan when they wouldn’t at any other time.
2. Paul Ryan, himself, is prepared and effective. He simply should not be underestimated.
No matter how confident the Obama team is in the substance of its arguments against Paul Ryan, they cannot take him lightly.
Ryan is not the caricature fire-breathing conservative that is supposed to scare kids and small animals. He won’t raise his voice like Chris Christie. Paul Ryan will listen and he will calmly and respectfully respond.
Saying Paul Ryan does his homework is an understatement. Agree with Ryan or not, he knows the details and the big picture. He’ll anticipate every argument Democrats can make and he’ll be prepared to respond. The Obama team needs to be just as prepared.
In 1980, the Carter campaign painted Reagan as a dangerous extremist. What the American people saw was a pleasant man who didn’t seem at all like the monster they had come to expect.
To be clear, I do not believe Paul Ryan is the political athlete Ronald Reagan was. But let’s not give him the opportunity to appear anywhere close to it.
3. Finally – It is not in Mitt Romney’s nature to make erratic decisions. Although I don’t quite understand this pick, Romney is too methodical to make a choice like this without gaming out all the options and consequences.
Surely he thoroughly considered that Democrats would pounce on Ryan over medicare. Could it be that Romney would rather have the scrutiny on his Veep pick so that it takes the target off of him and Bain? The idea being that Democrats make Ryan their target (the Veep spot has always been obscure to voters), and the target is no longer Romney and Bain?
It’s a theory I haven’t fully explored it – but Ryan/Medicare seems to have already left Romney/Bain in the dust, and I don’t see that changing very soon.
You’ll have the rest of your life to be conventional graduates. Now is the time to chase your dreams, while you’re still young enough to start over if you fall.
“This is maybe your one shot when you come outta here, so don’t blow it by jumping at money, by doing the things that everybody thinks you should do because it seems successful, figure out where your heart is and try to go with that.”
Michael Lewis, author of Moneyball and The Blind Side, offered this advice to college graduates on Meet the Press when discussing guidance he has offered at commencement addresses. It may be the best advice for any college graduates that I have ever heard. Platitudes about “going for it” are easy to dismiss unless you consider that time is running out quicker than you realize. The first year or so after college may be your last, best shot to take risks to pursue to the job you love.
For most of you, this is the rare few years before family needs and the responsibilities of a stable career consume your daily lives. If there ever was a time to risk pursuing a dream career instead of taking the comfortable path, that time is now.
Earlier this year I was privileged to attend an event where Marty Rouse, National Field Director for the Human Rights Campaign, was honored for his significant work in helping pass marriage equality in New York State. With a career of stories to tell an audience hanging on his every word, Marty chose to share that pivotal choice he made shortly after college to leave a comfortable job and devote his life to the work he loved.
Shortly after college, Marty was moving up the ladder at a promising job in New York City. One day his boss pulled him aside and told Marty that while he was great at the day job, it was clear that Marty’s passion was in his work as an LGBT rights advocate. He advised Marty to quit and at least try to make a living doing the work he loved because in ten years Marty would likely be in his boss’s shoes: too comfortable and too risk-averse to leave that job to do what he loved.
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Jimmy Dahroug: Class of 2012 –This May Be Your Last Best Chance
New York will soon become the first state in the nation to require pro bono service with Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman’s recent decision to mandate fifty hours of pro bono work as part of admission to the bar. This is a step in the right direction that can significantly enhance the legal profession.
This new initiative will provide much needed legal assistance for people who cannot afford attorneys. The Legal Aid Society, the nation’s largest provider of free legal services, turns away eight of every nine people seeking help with civil legal matters. Since the recession began in 2008, requests for legal assistance have increased tremendously, especially in the areas of healthcare, work-related problems, and foreclosures. As Judge Lippman pointed out, approximately 10,000 prospective prospective lawyers pass the New York Bar Exam each year. This will result in 500,000 hours of pro bono legal service.
The pro bono requirement will also benefit the attorney and all future clients because it will provide much needed practical experience in legal education. Professionals ranging from surgeons to construction workers receive significant practical training, but as Stanford Law School Dean Larry Kramer explained, “Law is the only profession that gives people licenses to perform services for others that doesn’t require serious, supervised clinical education.” Indeed, top law schools including Stanford have come to recognize the need for experiential training to better prepare attorneys beyond the theory of the classroom. A pro bono requirement helps fill this critical need for practical training.
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Jimmy Dahroug: NY State’s Pro Bono Requirement is Step in Right Direction
Despite the recent GOP filibuster to block passage of the Buffett Rule in the Senate, the Whitehouse and the Democratic Party have vowed to continue the debate. While the proposal’s popularity does benefit President Obama in his bid for reelection, the Buffett Rule has merit because it is about fundamental fairness for taxpayers.
The Buffett Rule originated from Warren Buffett’s example of how the second richest man in the United States pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Warren Buffett does not pay the bulk of his annual income in actual income taxes. Buffett only pays an effective income tax rate of about 15 percent because he is compensated in stocks from his company. Under the current system, an estimated 55,000 millionaires use this loophole in the United States to pay a lower tax rate than millions of middle class workers.
The proposed legislation stipulates that a taxpayer who earns at least one million dollars pay at least a 30 percent tax rate. Under the current system at least a quarter of all millionaires pay a lower tax rate than millions of middle class workers.
It is important to point out that the legislation does not raise the capital gains tax rate itself. The Buffett rule targets the loophole where individuals essentially make their annual income from capital gains, and in turn benefit from the lower rate of 15 percent. They include individuals who purposely choose to take compensation as stocks rather than salaried income, so that they will pay a lower tax rate than the rest of the people in their income tax bracket.
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Jimmy Dahroug: The Case for the Buffet Rule
Jimmy Dahroug Responds
I think you were referring to my post. Thanks!
John Y. Brown, III Responds
But what would the most interesting man in the world be doing running as a VP candidate?
It seems to go against his brand. Although it would be a brilliant and compelling choice.
David Host Responds
“I don’t often run for powerless offices where I wait for someone else to die – but when I do . . .”
Jimmy Dahroug’s Response
[Click here to follow the full debate thread]
You all raise some great points and I think Christie, Condi, and Bobby Jindal all have promise.
BUT it’s Rubio.
Here are the reasons that guide my thinking:
1. Top Notch Political Athlete
I may not share Rubio’s ideological beliefs, but I recognize his abilities a political athlete. Specifically, Rubio is a dynamic speaker. Don’t discount the importance of this skill – especially in the youtube/internet era.
It was Barack Obama’s dynamic speech at the 2004 Democratic convention that put him on the map for President – before he was even elected to the U.S. Senate. Although Rubio began his campaign for the U.S. Senate as the underdog in polls and funding to Charlie Crist, Rubio’s team harnessed his speaking ability to level the playing field and ultimately force Crist out of the Republican party.
While Rubio’s ability as a speaker was not the only factor in that campaign, it played a critical role and it is something the Romney campaign should consider as a potential asset.
As a Democrat, it’s Rubio’s speaking ability that concerns me most. It seems distant after a term as President, but in the 2006 midterm elections candidates in swing states were begging then-Senator Obama to campaign for them. I hate to admit it, but Rubio has similar appeal. He’s able to speak about his conservative values in a way that can persuade independents and swing state voters.
2. Rubio Shores up Romney’s Weaknesses
Rubio’s almost the exact opposite of Romney. He stands his ground as a pretty consistent conservative who seeks to persuade, rather than pander.
Remember Charlie Crist? Crist had the same knock on him as Romney – a compulsive panderer with little conviction or loyalty. Part of Rubio’s appeal in that race was because he drew such a stark contrast to Crist. Interestingly enough, the same contrast Rubio draws to Romney may be just what the Romney campaign needs.
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The RPs Debate the 2012 GOP VP: Jimmy Dahroug Antes Up
Jimmy Dahroug: Rebuttal #6
[Krystal Ball’s Provocation; Artur Davis’ Rebuttal #1; Jeff Smith’s Rebuttal #2; Ron Granieri’s Rebuttal #3; The RP’s Rebuttal #4; Ron Granieri’s First Response; Rod Jetton’s Rebuttal #5; The RP’s First Response]
This is my first post, and first contribution to The Recovering Politician. I believe having run for office and taking the time to step back and examine our experiences, gives us a unique and significant insight into how politics really works. Thank you for allowing me to be part of this with all of you.
On to the debate!
As a Democrat, I can’t say I would mind if a drawn-out primary helped our party in the general election. Yet objectively, I do see potential advantages for the GOP. The Obama campaign might be happy about this right now, but they would be committing political malpractice if they don’t anticipate possible advantages for the GOP, and prepare for them. So here are some points to consider:
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The RPs Debate the GOP Mudfest: Jimmy Dahroug Rebuts
How much money does Warren Buffett’s secretary really make? [CNBC]
Why Bank of America will be the turn-around challenge of the century. [Fortune]
The pessimists are wrong: the future never looked so good. [Forbes]