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Blog Post | Consumer Protection, Financial Reform

It happened 4 years ago this weekend, and Congress has already forgottenDeirdre CummingsEd Mierzwinski

Four years ago, on September 14-15, 2008, the Lehman Brothers investment bank declared bankruptcy while Bank of America acquired another foundering investment bank, Merrill Lynch -- major events that froze the financial markets and led in a few days to a $700 billion bailout of the financial system. Just four years later, some in the Congress have forgotten that real people and the economy are still suffering from the financial collapse, as it steps up Wall Street-backed efforts to prevent regulators from protecting the public.

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Media Hit | Budget, Food, Tax

Farm Bill needs to Cut the Fat

Of the $277 billion spent on agricultural subsidies since 1995, 75 percent of the total went to just 3.8 percent of U.S. farmers, skewed towards the largest farms — not small family farms. Massachusetts consumers’ share of the cost for junk food subsidies is about $22.6 million each year on average, compared with just under $800,000 in subsidies for apples. That’s enough to buy 61 million Twinkies, but only 1.6 million apples.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Consumers Seeing Benefits of Credit CARD Act Protections | Deirdre Cummings

The MASSPIRG-backed Credit CARD Act improved consumer disclosures, protected college students and young people from unfair marketing and also banned the worst tricks used by credit card companies. In particular, it made it much harder to trick or force consumers into paying late fees, and so, as the story explains:
"Customers are also happier when it comes to both annual fees and penalty fees charged by credit card companies. When it comes to penalty fees, “One of the reasons the score is getting better is because fewer customers are having their late fees increased,” says Jim Miller, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice."

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Before You Fly, Know the Fees | Deirdre Cummings

Planning on flying out of Logan any time soon? Check out this great survey by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs of all the extra fees each airline charges consumers – including fees to reschedule flight, baggage fees, seat assignment fees, pet fees and others.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Health insurers’ earnings plunge for 2nd quarter

Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for the nonprofit Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, said that while premium increases have been moderating, businesses and individuals still haven’t felt sufficient relief after enduring a decade of soaring premiums.

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USA Today - Safe cigarettes sometimes snuffed

Most of the 300 to 350 seniors killed each year in cigarette fires die in private homes. But cigarettes also are the leading cause of fire deaths in institutions that care for seniors. A USA TODAY analysis of more than 100 fatal fires since 1999 in nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and senior housing shows that about 50% began with a cigarette.

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Environment News Service - New York State Mandates Green Cleaning Products in Schools

Governor George Pataki signed legislation Wednesday that protects children, teachers and all school personnel from toxic cleaning products used by many schools.

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Media Hit | Democracy

Support Legislation to Counteract Big Money in Politics

MASSPIRG calls for Citizens United reforms

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DEFEND THE CFPB

Tell your representative to oppose the “Financial CHOICE Act,” which would gut Wall Street reforms and destroy the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as we know it.

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