I wrote an article a few days ago about how President Obama was radically transforming the country and that he was doing a lot of it on the down low. Partly because he’s not a glory hound but mostly because the quieter he works, the harder it is for the Republicans to make a huge screaming deal about it. So it may come as something of a surprise that Obama has been hammering at the big banks for years now.
And he just put them in a world of hurt that they’ve had coming for a long time.
Vox explains it perfectly:
Sometimes in life, a business transaction goes wrong and one party needs to seek redress from the other through the legal system. In cases that pit an individual consumer against a giant company for a modest sum of money, however, it’s often not practical for an individual to mount a lawsuit. Consequently, plaintiffs’ lawyers like to handle these cases by bundling a whole bunch of claims together to mount a class action. Each individual case may be small, but the class as a whole can bring a large complaint that greatly impacts a company’s bottom line.
Consequently, many companies have begun to quietly insert binding arbitration clauses into their contracts that prevent consumers from seeking redress via class actions.
In other words: The big banks want to be able to crush the ants individually because they know the colony together will overrun them. It’s a particularly scummy move that a lot of corporations have taken a shine to. You’ll be shocked, SHOCKED, I tell you! that the conservative wing of the Supreme Court spent years undermining class action suits for this very reason. And it’s even more scummy than you think because arbitration is not nearly as impartial as a court trial, which, of course, is the point.
But, lo and behold!
Such clauses exist across a range of industries but are particularly common among credit card companies, banks, and other lenders that fall under the CFPB purview.
Their proposed solution is simple: ban these clauses, a move that will potentially cost the industry billions of dollars.
You remember the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, right? The brainchild of Elizabeth Warren? The Bureau that the GOP waged a scorched earth war against? The one that liberal critics of Obama insist is worthless? Yeah, they’re far from worthless; they’ve just been very quiet as they’ve flexed their muscles and started to wrestle with the gloated, greedy financial sector they were created to rein in.
And just last month, Obama had the IRS change the rules so corporations wouldn’t be able to cheat taxpayers out of billions in corporate taxes. Remember when Obama was supposed to be in the pocket of Corporate America? Seems pretty laughable now…
With 8 months left to his last year in office and absolutely zero worries in the world, President Obama is having his administration put the finishing touches on a legacy that will shift the balance of power in this country from the rich to the rest of us. All we have to do to cement it is to vote blue in November.
Featured image via IYON archives