Weekly Address: Protecting Working Americans’ Paychecks

The President: Hi, everybody. Five years ago, after the worst
financial crisis in decades, we passed historic Wall Street
reform to end the era of bailouts and too big to fail. As part that reform, we created
an independent Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with
one mission: to protect American consumers from some of the worst
practices of the financial industry. They’ve already put $5 billion
back in the pockets of more than 15 million families. And this week, they took an
important first step towards cracking down on some of the
most abusive practices involving payday loans. Millions of Americans take
out these loans every year. In Alabama, where I
visited this week, there are four times as many
payday lending stores as there are McDonald’s. But while payday loans
might seem like easy money, folks often end up trapped
in a cycle of debt. If you take out a $500 loan,
it’s easy to wind up paying more than $1,000 in
interest and fees. The step the Consumer Financial
Protection Bureau announced this week is designed to change that. The idea is pretty common sense:
if you’re a payday lender preparing to give a loan, you
should make sure that the borrower can afford
to pay it back first. As Americans, we believe there’s
nothing wrong with making a profit. But there is something wrong
with making that profit by trapping hard-working men and
women in a vicious cycle of debt. Protecting working Americans’
paychecks shouldn’t be a partisan issue. But the budget Republicans
unveiled last week would make it harder, not easier, to crack
down on financial fraud and abuse. And this week, when Republicans
rolled out their next economic idea, it had nothing to
do with the middle class. It was a new, more-than-$250
billion tax cut for the top one-tenth of the top one
percent of Americans. That would mean handing out an
average tax cut of $4 million a year to just 4,000
Americans per year, and leaving the rest of
the country to pay for it. I don’t think our top economic
priority should be helping a tiny number of Americans who are
already doing extraordinarily well, and asking everybody
else to foot the bill. I think our top priority should
be helping everybody who works hard get ahead. This country does best when
everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share,
and everyone plays by the same set of rules. That’s what middle-class
economics is all about, and as long as I’m
your President, that’s what I’ll keep
on fighting to do. Thanks, and have
a great weekend.

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