Today, more than 325 organizations sent an updated letter to President-Elect Biden and Vice President-Elect Harris, calling on them to use executive authority to cancel federal student debt on day one of their administration. The letter highlights that cancelling student debt would stimulate the economy, help reduce racial wealth gaps, and could have a positive impact on health outcomes. The groups write that “executive action is one of the few available tools that could immediately provide a boost to upwards of 44 million borrowers and the economy.” Further, this action would be an important first step in advancing the President-Elect’s campaign priorities to ensure racial equity, focus on economic recovery, and deliver COVID-19 relief.
The Department of Labor today dealt another blow to sustainable investing with a new rule aimed at private retirement plan fiduciaries. Incoming leadership at DOL must quickly reverse course on this rule and facilitate, rather than hinder, responsible retirement investing.
Gary Gensler has a strong track record from his time at the Commodities Futures Trading Commission of being willing to take on powerful industries. Under his leadership, this small and underfunded agency led the way to the first comprehensive regulation of U.S. over-the-counter derivatives markets, despite heavy opposition from industry lobbyists. Gensler will need to bring the same spirit and drive to the even greater task of bringing needed reform to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Urban Institute has documented that, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 31% of adults in the United States with credit reports have debt in collection. That number goes up to 42% for those residing in communities of color.
The regulator of the nation’s largest banks has finalized a rule that allows predatory lenders to do an end-run around state interest rate caps, exposing people to loans in excess of 100% APR that violate state rate limits. Merely by putting a bank’s name on the fine print of the paperwork, predatory lenders could claim that the loan is a bank loan exempt from state rate caps.
Yesterday, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission adopted a final rule that purports to limit excessive speculation in crucial commodity markets affecting the price of consumer products ranging from gasoline to bread.
With this new rule, the SEC is undermining the ability of investors to use the shareholder proposal process to call companies to task on their failures to behave responsibly. Now, it will be much more expensive for small investors to submit shareholder proposals. It will be harder for them to resubmit proposals — a frequent practice — because of higher resubmission thresholds. It’s a gift of new power to irresponsible management and a blow to the cause of corporate accountability.