The More Things Change...

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 28 July 2011

Two weeks ago I had the chance to testify before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity:

It was the first time in a while that I had testified at a hearing that was clearly slanted towards the concerns of the financial services  and housing industries (8 corporate witnesses v. 2 consumer advocates) and while that didn't surprise  me - I do live and work in Washington, D.C. after all - I was pretty flabbergasted by the people who I saw in the hearing room and what they did and didn't say.  Looking across the witness table, and more importantly, at the people who sat behind the witnesses, I was amazed to see the same cast of corporate lobbyists who defended the mortgage and banking industry's insatiable greed that ultimately lead to our national's economic disaster.

In the world I live in, when you're so monumentally wrong as these folks were, I would expect maybe a little humility, a little introspection, a little rethinking about how and what I do for a living. But I guess in the world of lobbying, big money contributions not only means never having to say you're sorry, it all means that you get a level of respect and credibility in Congress that is completely undeserved. And folks wonder why Congress is so broken. The more things change...

Ira Rheingold 



Executive Director, National Association of Consumer Advocates (NACA)