Debt collectors get away with daylight robbery


By Jim Hightower

The GOP is known for being tough on crime—except when it’s padding their pockets.

I thought Donnie Trump and his fellow Republicans were big law ‘n order politicians. So, why are they trying to scrap the sheriff and unleash thousands of robbers to run wild across America?

The sheriff they want to nix is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The thieves they’re out to help are corporate debt collectors who pay pennies on the dollar for huge databases of overdue bills, then hound the borrowers to pay up.

Debt collectors profit from weak regulations that let them bully, harass, and run roughshod over tens of thousands of consumers every year—including people who’ve already paid off their debt or never even incurred it.

Every year, debt collection firms routinely abuse the law and overload our courts by filing hundreds of thousands of lawsuits against debtors.

Masses of these suits are backed only by flimsy, out-of-date, erroneous, forged, or non-existent evidence. Collectors don’t care about the evidence. Their intent isn’t to win in court, but to frighten or bamboozle borrowers into paying.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently sided with the victims of this corporate thievery, proposing new rules to stop the abuse.

Trumpist Republicans have responded with outrage—not at the corporate outlaws, but at the sheriff. The GOP’s 2016 party platform advocates abolishing the bureau, calling it a “rogue agency” for daring to stand up to the real rogues that are openly robbing workaday Americans.

Why is the GOP so shamefully soft on crime?

Because it’s not just small-fry debt collectors involved in this outlandish shakedown of innocent borrowers, but such Wall Street powerhouses as JP Morgan Chase and Citibank—corporations that also happen to be generous political donors to Republican candidates.

You thought daylight robbery was a crime? Well, it depends on who is robbing whom.

OtherWords columnist Jim Hightower is a radio commentator, writer, and public speaker. He’s the editor of the populist newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown

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