Americans have lost confidence in banks and credit card companies. Is government protection against predatory lending the answer? As the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes its first major action, will it make things better or worse? Also, the UN Security Council fails to act on Syria, and the National Guard's sponsorship of NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has barely survived Congressional budget cutters. But the Army has dropped the Stewart-Haas team. What's sacred and what's not?
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Yesterday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau took its first major enforcement action since it began operating a year ago. It ordered Capital One Bank to refund about $150 million dollars to two million credit card customers. Bureau Director Richard Cordray says Capital One's telephone vendors used deceptive marketing to sell add-ons like credit monitoring and debt protection. Democrats created the Bureau in response to predatory lending practices. Republicans are still trying to slow it down. Is the CFPB's the confidence-building action consumers have been waiting for or just more regulation that will swamp the finance industry in government red tape? Instead of a government agency with new powers, would it be better to break up the big banks and return personal finance to a human scale?
One day after Syrian rebels killed top aides to President Assad in the heart of Damascus, Security Council members China and Russia have vetoed a resolution extending the UN Observer Mission. America's Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice said that history would "judge harshly" the Council's failure "from assuming even its most basic responsibilities." President Bashar al-Assad appeared today on Syrian TV, swearing in a new defense minister to replace the one killed yesterday. But violence has escalated in capital city, and there are real questions about his regime's capacity to survive. Reporter Liz Sly is based in Turkey for the Washington Post.
Congressional budget cutters are sharpening their pencils, even when it comes to defense. The National Guard's sponsorship of NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has barely survived – the vote in Congress was 216 to 212 -- but the Army is dumping the racing team of Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman. James Dupree is Radio News Director of the Cox Media Group's Washington Bureau.