The Honest Truth About Dishonesty and Consumer Protection

by Jeff Sovern I have been listening to the audio version of Dan Areily's book, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, and it may shed some light on consumer protection.  Ariely explores the causes and limits of dishonesty.  He reports on a series of experiments that suggest that many people cheat a little, but not so […]

A Comment on Eric Grover’s Essay on the CFPB in the Washington Times

by Jeff Sovern A fellow named Eric Grover had a piece atacking the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the Washington Times this week titled "CFPB’s unchecked power."   A line at the end of the essay explains "Eric Grover is a principal at Intrepid Ventures."  I had never heard of Intrepid Ventures, but their web site […]

Forgiven Mortgage Debt May Increase Homeowners’ Income Tax Liability Starting Next Year

The cancellation of indebtedness generally produces income for federal and state income tax purposes. But as LA Times writer Jim Puzzanghera explains, "in 2007, Congress enacted the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act to give struggling homeowners a break. If the debt is forgiven because of a drop in a home's value or a decline in […]

Ninth Circuit Revises Opinion Rejecting Cereal Settlement

In July, we wrote about the Ninth Circuit's rejection of a settlement of claims that Kellogg's had misrepresented that kids could improve their attentiveness in school by nearly 20 percent by eating Frosted Mini Wheats for breakfast. The court held that the cy pres was not properly related to the claims and the class, and […]

Report on National Mortgage Fraud Settlement

We reported earlier on the national mortgage fraud settlement between the federal government, state attorneys general, and the five largest mortgage servicers. (Go here and here, for instance.) The settlement's official website has lots of information, including an executive summary, which sets out some of the settlement's key terms. The summary discusses the billions of […]

More on a Constitutional Amendment to Overrule Citizens United

Yesterday, we posted on President Obama's statement that if other means of curbing corporate election spending fail, he would consider a constitutional amendment to overrule the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision. The President thought it possible that the Court would itself overrule Citizens United, but that seems unlikely in the near term in light of […]

Researchers Question Health Value of Organic Food

Read this AP story. Here's an excerpt: Patient after patient asked: Is eating organic food, which costs more, really better for me? Unsure, Stanford University doctors dug through reams of research to find out — and concluded there’s little evidence that going organic is much healthier, citing only a few differences involving pesticides and antibiotics. […]

President Obama Says He Could Support a Constitutional Amendment to Overrule Citizens United

As explained here, President Obama recently posted to the on-line community reddit that he could support a constitutional amendment to overrule the Supreme Court's controversial 2010 Citizens United ruling that unleased corporate campaign spending as never before. Here's what the President said: Money has always been a factor in politics, but we are seeing something […]

Eminent Domain and the Fight to Save Underwater Homeowners

We have previously posted about the use of eminent domain as a tool for saving the homes of people whose mortages remain underwater as a result of the mortgage meltdown and the effects of the economic depression (go, for instance, here and here). Now, read this article by Ben Hallman about the political (and possibly […]