Over the weekend, we learned that J.P. Morgan Chase has tentatively agreed to pay $13 billion in fines to settle mortgage lending abuse cases with the Department of Justice -- and that settlement won't allow it to escape criminal prosecution over at least some of their alleged wrongdoings. So yay Justice Department! But note well that J.P. Morgan Chase might actually get to deduct this "loss" from their taxes, such that the taxpayers -- that's you and I, dear reader -- will be on the hook for $4.5 billion of that. I know, I know, $13 billion minus $4.5 billion is still $8.5 billion, but why should we tolerate J.P. Morgan Chase getting a $4.5 billion handout for doing wrong? Fortunately, we don't have to tolerate it: the Justice Department can forbid them from deducting the penalties from their taxes, as part of the settlement. So USPIRG helps you tell the Justice Department not to let J.P. Morgan Chase deduct its penalties from its income at tax time.
Meanwhile, if you're as sick of Republican hostage-taking as I am, you might be interested in telling Congress to abolish the debt ceiling, which CREDO helps you do. Congress used to raise the debt ceiling routinely, and didn't even separate raising the debt ceiling from routine appropriations bills until Newt Gingrich became Speaker in 1995. All through the 2000s, Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling, despite passing many fiscally-irresponsible bills -- it was only in 2011, with a Democrat President and an ongoing economic Armageddon, that Republicans suddenly "found their voice." And what a shrill voice it's been, one that conflates "fiscal responsibility" only with spending cuts, and spending cuts borne almost entirely by working families, at that! Even our current "fiscal hawk" House actually increased big corporate agricultural subsidies, while wagging their fingers at the growing number of Americans who need food stamps. So I say they don't get a "debt ceiling" to play with.