(C) 2017 by Paul DuginskiUsed only with express written permission
Readers of this space will recognize the name of Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) from earlier posts. The Texas “tea party” favorite and tireless publicity seeker elevated himself only slightly above back-bench oblivion status to the slimy role of villain in the Export-Import Bank saga. He engaged in an obsessive, Ahab-like pursuit of a successful government agency that not only helped to make American exports more competitive and sustained American jobs, it made a profit for the taxpayer. He attacked the Ex-Im Bank and its good deeds on behalf of American business as “crony capitalism,” and certainly our global competitors such as the Chinese were cheering his attacks. All of our foreign trade competitors have similar institutions, and they would be fairly hugging themselves with glee if they could sit back and watch the little bow-legged buckaroo from Texas cripple our Ex-Im Bank.
But as a Republican, which is the party of business if it is anything, Hensarling’s animus for the Ex-Im Bank simply didn’t add up. Until you see what kind of capitalists are his cronies.
According to OpenSecrets.org, the award-winning website of the Center for Responsive Politics, the top five industries contributing to Hensarling’s 2015-2016 campaign were insurance, securities and investment, commercial banks, real estate and other miscellaneous finance entities. Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase & Co. were among the top five contributors.
(c) 2015 by Paul DuginskiUsed only with express written permission
Big banks probably wanted to get their hands on the financing business being handled by the Ex-Im Bank, although the reason for the Ex-Im Bank is to smooth transactions where financing through regular banks was difficult or impossible. I’m anything but a financial wizard, but when things on their face don’t seem to add up, you go looking for alternate reasons. As one friend said just today, there must have been a helluva lot of money to be made by someone if the Ex-Im Bank were to disappear.
All of which leads us to what our contemptible little Texas rodeo clown is up to these days.
There have been at least a half-dozen bills introduced by Republicans aimed at the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and an entity it created, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Naturally, that paragon of morality and compassionate decency, Ted Cruz, was among those who tossed a bill in the hopper in the Senate to kill the consumer watchdog.
And if you thought Hensarling was waging jihad against the Ex-Im Bank, check out how he abused CFPB Director Richard Cordray in a hearing before the House Financial Services Committee last week. Hensarling demonstrates that he doesn’t give a damn about providing a “cop on the beat,” to use Elizabeth Warren’s phrase, to protect American consumers. He’s bought and paid for by the corporate caliphate, and he’s fighting for them and their desire to oppress and rule American consumers.
With Republicans in control of the White House and both houses of Congress, they feel this is their time to finally return control of the country to the robber barons and big business, just like in olden times, in this second Gilded Age.
Since being elected in 2003, Hensarling has received $1.3 million in contributions from the commercial banking industry. He has received $1.4 million from securities and investment firms, $1.4 million from insurance companies and $703,304 from finance and credit companies. Whose financial interests do you thing he’s looking out for?
Meanwhile, the CFPB has recovered $12 billion on behalf of swindled consumers since 2011 when it opened for business. It has revamped mortgage rules and proposed new regulations for payday lenders. In other words, it has been a major thorn in the side of those who would fleece the consumer through crooked or questionable financial practices.
No wonder the banking and financial industries have declared jihad on Americans’ watchdog, the CFPB.