Bell weather examples of what is most important to the Republican Party

Having been a member of the Republican Party over twenty years before becoming an Independent voter around 2008, an observation looking back is more than half of the Republican Party is voting against their economic interests and have little idea they are. The reason is the underlying mission is masked from its members, as a means of gaining their vote. Democrats are not perfect, but I find you see their shortcomings in a more overt way. The Democrats are also lousy marketers on what they do well.

Here are two bell weather examples which illustrate this point about the Republican Party. These are not the only or even the biggest examples, but they reveal a propensity not to look after those who are not the wealthy donors or business owners.

The first is the consistent attack by many Republicans on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is designed to protect people. Why? Banks don’t like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as it fines banks, credit card and loan companies for screwing their own customers. So, they fund politicians to try and hobble the CFPB. Please note, I carefully chose the word “screwing” as it seemed to be most apt. Bankers used to be a very trusted profession, but the leadership of these companies threw that trust out the window.

Former Republican Congressman and Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney was put in charge of said CFPB by the previous president to do that very thing. He could not kill it though and the CFPB just fined Wells Fargo $3.7 billion for setting up fraudulent accounts for its customers without their permission to make bonus targets. But, Wells Fargo is not alone, as companies like Bank of America, American Express, JP Morgan, Citibank, et al have also been fined for their aggressive and, at time unethical or fraudulent, marketing practices.

The second is the more obvious example of a misguided mission. For several years, a new regulation was crafted to require all investment advisors to be considered fiduciaries. In other words, these advisors should be obligated to put their investors’ interests ahead of their own.

Per the Los Angeles Times in 2019, the “Trump administration abandoned a regulation designed to protect U.S. savers from conflicted investment advice. Known as the fiduciary rule, it would have required more brokers and insurance agents to disclose when they’re getting paid to steer people into certain investments. It also would have banned the sale of certain retirement products when they aren’t in savers’ ‘best interest.’

It should be noted the sale of illicit products increased after these fiduciary regulations were abandoned. The investment advisors made more money via transactional sales, but the investor may or may not have benefitted. This abandonment of such an essential requirement makes me ill. Using that “screwing your customers” term again, it allows investment advisors to act with impunity as they make more money. It should be noted that most investment advisors make money off sales of stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., so there is a tendency to push customers to sell rather than buy and hold investments.

Understanding and managing financial products is complex. But, they become even more complex if the actors in the process are not held accountable or responsible. To not require an investment advisor to be a fiduciary is malfeasance in my view. Full Stop. To not require and penalize banks, credit card and loan companies to market fairly and truthfully is also malfeasance. Yet, that is precisely what the Republican Party tried to hobble.

People need to know this. Yes, Democrats could improve on some things, but to me these two examples are bell weather ones that speak volumes about the mission of the Republican Party. Sadly, there are others I could have used. Look beneath behind the curtain at the Wizard to see what is really happening.


20 thoughts on “Bell weather examples of what is most important to the Republican Party

  1. Keith, though those are two apt examples, I fear they are micro-issues when we are watching the Republican Party’s descent into chaos as they struggle to find a speaker. Kevin McCarthy, who probably won’t gain the speakership, has already promised the Insurrectionists—let’s call them what they are: traitors—that he will permit the decimation of the House Ethics Committee. The fact that the most radical, anti-democratic forces are holding the party hostage shows what many former top Republicans are saying: the GOP is beyond repair.

    • Annie, no question the GOP is adrift untethered to the truth. I used these examples as the party is trying to claim a populist viewpoint, when that could not be further from the truth. To be frank, you hit upon a big issue, but it goes beyond that. In short, when demographics do not work in the party’s favor the answer is to cheat and restrict voting. It also means putting conservative judges in place to side with corporations against class action suits by groups of harmed customers. It should be noted the major piece of legislation under Trump was to give a tax cut to rich people and corporations. Keith

      • Totally agree—and that brings us to the fundamental of a fearful (thus fearsome) white base seeing themselves overwhelmed by a vibrant diverse majority.

      • Annie, well said. It is funny, I really do not pay much attention to the snowflake, woke and Karen labeling as I presume the authors are meaning to denigrate people’s arguments without substantive debate. But, what I do see is what you note that a lot of what we are seeing in the GOP is due to the challenging demographics with the white race becoming a plurality not a majority of the population. Steve Schmidt, a long time Republican strategist was the first person I heard say this when he was asked to be on Bill Maher’s show about five years ago. He says the GOP saw the writing on the wall around projections made at the turn of the century and decided it needed to either recruit more people or cheat by limiting voting.


  2. Just two fine examples of many, perhaps hundreds. The key is that the people who vote these corrupt politicos into office do not understand what they are voting for, so we need to find a way to educate them. However, they will listen to the loudest voices rather than the ones that speak the truth calmly and intelligently. One example, all the people who were thrilled with Trump’s tax cuts. The average earner saw an increase in his net pay of a few dollars, while the uber-rich saw an increase of millions, but the voters did not understand how that would work and thus cheered for the tax cuts and voted for the ones who promised them. Somehow, we need to help people understand what it is they are voting for and how it will actually affect them and others, not just believe what they are told.

    • Jill, thanks. We are looking at organized gaslighting. They are getting people to look away from their real mission. So, the gaslighters throw threatened social issues at them to cause fear, while the purveyors steal the candy. Keith

  3. I’m curious about the Wells Fargo scam because it appears a fake account was opened in my husbands name. So now we’re trying to get to the bottom of it.

    • Michelle, please do. A number of bankers set up new accounts to meet their targets for bonuses without asking the customers. This may very well be one of those cases. Keith

      • It was good information, Keith. And we called about it today and found out it was an old account indirectly related to Wells Fargo. But after reading your post, it made me try to investigate more quickly.

  4. Note to Readers: Looking at some of the largest fines outside of the Wells Fargo one:

    Ocwen Financial – $2.2 billion
    Citigroup – $1.2 billion
    Bank of America – $900 million

  5. Note to Readers II: I could a picked a few others, but one would be Republicans coming close to killing the ACA which would have harmed 20 million Americans directly and may have impacted employer plans which include ACA mandated features to help over 150 million Americans, one of which limits profitability of insured plans at the expense of their customers. Also, Medicaid has not been expanded in about a dozen Republican majority states which would help impoverished citizens and hospitals that have not yet closed like others, but remain in jeopardy.

    • Janis, regulations and governing bodies serve a vital purpose. Yet, when people want to rid themselves of both, they see them as all or nothing exercises. What we should be doing periodically in Congress and annually with inspector general is monitoring the regulations and agencies. Are they doing what we need them to do and should we tweak, update, modernize or possibly cut back or eliminate?

      A good example is when the trucking industry was deregulated in the 1980s. Most trucking firms went out of business. Another good one is when they repealed the Glass Steagal Act in the 1990s preventing banks from being investment banks. This led in part to the Housing Recession in 2007 as banks did some unwise things.


  6. And now we have the unedifying spectacle (unless you are a Democrat) on the Republicans doing their impression of the UK Labour Party in their rancorous antics over House Speaker.
    Jill and I share this joke as to who will buy the popcorn when we watch such a spectacle. It would seem Democrat politicians are literally doing this.

      • Good question Keith.
        Considering the fact that the whole federal governance process of the USA arguably rest on this matter I am going with ‘Black Comedy’.
        Although I don’t like the film, the closing scenes of Dr Strangelove where the USA participants are all arguing over the next step to take has resonances.
        Or the phrase:
        ‘You couldn’t make this stuff up,’.
        Beats the tenure of Liz Truss into a simple pratfall.

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