Congress is back to work this week (please take a moment to boo), and naturally they haven't finished spending bills yet, so Public Citizen still helps you tell House Speaker Boehner and Senate Majority Leader McConnell to pass clean budget legislation, without the nefarious policy riders that would wither and die if exposed to sunlight. Politicians frequently treat "must-pass" appropriations bills as a means to pass riders defunding climate change efforts or financial regulation efforts or campaign finance efforts (to name three of Mr. McConnell's pet projects). If Congress tried to pass legislation doing these things on their own, they run the risk of exposing their heartlessness, and they might even lose their jobs next November. But use a must-pass bill as a hostage and you can strap all kinds of bombs to it, and our President too often compromises with hostage-takers so he can look like he's governing. I don't care about looking like I'm governing; I only care about good government, so I'll keep agitating against nefarious legislative aims, and I hope you will, too.
Meanwhile, seven years after Wall Street banksters took a massive crap all over our economy and put millions of families underwater on their mortgages, our government -- you know, that "socialist" government that hands out everything to everybody all the time -- has done just about nothing to help those underwater homeowners. Even the filibuster-proof Democratic Senate majority couldn't get a simple majority of Senators to support a bill allowing good Americans to renegotiate their mortgages in court -- this, even though our law currently allows people to do that with their second homes. But the Federal Housing Finance Agency (or FHFA) has the authority to help borrowers reduce their principal, and now that Edward DeMarco is gone as FHFA head, they really have no excuse. (Mr. DeMarco considered principal reduction a "moral hazard" -- always blind to the moral hazards of letting banks do what they like and then protecting them from the consequences of their actions, his kind are!) So Americans for Financial Reform helps you tell the FHFA to use its power to help underwater homeowners.
Finally, if you've missed previous opportunities to tell President Obama to issue an executive order forbidding federal contractors from asking job applicants if they've ever been in jail, then Color of Change still helps you do that. If the prospect of having co-workers who've been in jail skeeves you out a bit, consider that said folks have already paid the price society demanded of them, and it would be unlawful to keep making them pay, or to let employers keep making them pay. If their families want to keep making them pay -- in lawful ways, such as ostracizing them -- that's their affair. But allowing employers to discriminate as a way to keep punishing them for their crimes? That's not their job. And it also greatly increases the possibility that those folks who just got out of jail will go back to jail, since having a job is, I've found, a very good way of avoiding the sorts of temptation that land you back in jail. Of course, our private prison-industrial complex likes people who wind up back in jail -- and if they're black, they probably call that a bonus! But civilized people don't feel that way.