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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its Consumer Complaint Database provide a good example of how a two-way flow of information can help make government more effective – and how it can benefit from modern online tools for sharing data.
With transportation policy at every level increasingly out of step with 21st century conditions and priorities and ripe for fundamental reform, now is the time to articulate a sustainable policy vision to guide the transition.
Swapping out fossil fuel-powered internal combustion engine vehicles for electric ones running on renewable energy might do the “climate work,” but the amount of climate work to be done will be far greater if we continue to design and run our cities on an auto-dependent operating system.
In the 1990s, my grandmother lost $60,000 to a financial scammer who took advantage of her age and vulnerability. A lucky, and perhaps illegal, phone call from her bank flagged the problem to the family. Today, thanks to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I think it’s likely the problem would have been noticed and stopped sooner.
The technical challenge of making transit work better – while essential – pales in significance to the adaptive challenge of building cities and a transportation policy system in which transit can work better.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau receives more complaints about debt collection than about any other topic. The complaints are submitted by consumers who reach out to the CFPB for help resolving problems with debt collectors and other problems in the financial marketplace.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau helps protect consumers in the financial marketplace, which includes banks, debt collectors, mortgage and vehicle lenders, credit card companies, credit bureaus, payday lenders, student loan servicers, and other financial actors. The CFPB protects all consumers by implementing fair, clear and transparent rules to protect consumers in the financial marketplace.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has helped consumers reclaim billions of dollars lost through unfair financial practices. As of the end of 2016, the CFPB had returned more than $11.8 billion to 29 million customers.
Building a less car-dependent transportation system is a necessity not just for the environment, our health and the effective functioning of our cities and towns, but also for the financial health of American households.
I’ve seen a spate of articles in the past month about the declining fortunes of retailers in the U.S. Stores are closing at an unprecedented rate, resulting in thousands of lay-offs and millions of square feet of vacant real estate. Much of the coverage has focused on the plight of retail workers who have lost their jobs and on the problem of empty mall space. But from another perspective, the closing of stores and retail outlets may hint at a positive trend: perhaps Americans are less interested in spending time shopping, and are instead engaging in more fulfilling activities.
“Special districts” are government entities that exist outside of traditional forms of general purpose local and state governments. Sometimes known as authorities or quasi-public agencies, they serve key governmental functions such as providing public transit or public housing. But despite being public entities that provide public services, special districts are often unknown to the public and often do business without adhering to modern standards of government budget or spending transparency.
If America is to shift its focus toward transportation investments that deliver greater societal benefits for less money, it is important to be able to recognize the signs that a given highway expansion project just might be a boondoggle.
The tactics used by the debt collection are a growing source of consumer pain; they include incessant calling, threats of arrest, and damaged credit reports – while often targeting the wrong consumer, and often violating the law. To gain insight into the impact on consumers of medical debt collection, we turned to the consumer complaint database of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for our new report, Medical Debt Malpractice: Consumer Complaints About Medical Debt Collectors, and How the CFPB Can Help.
Solar energy is booming across America. Our new report, Shining Cities 2017, is the fourth edition in our series ranking U.S. cities by installed solar photovoltaic (PV) capacity. On average, the cities in this report have nearly tripled their solar energy capacity just since 2014 when we began collecting data for this series.
Millions of Americans regularly breathe polluted air. Communities in 49 states, plus Washington, D.C., experienced elevated levels of smog pollution in 2015, and every state had problems with particulate pollution, according to a new analysis, Our Health at Risk, by Frontier Group and Environment America Research & Policy Center.
Our new report with Environment America, Doubling Down on Climate Progress: The Benefits of a Stronger Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, explores what RGGI has accomplished in the region so far, and what the program could accomplish if strengthened.
Even when drilling companies follow all the rules, fracking is a dirty and dangerous activity. Yet drilling companies also regularly violate laws and regulations meant to protect the environment and the public, magnifying the risk. Fracking Failures 2017, written with PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, finds that gas drillers across Pennsylvania continue to violate laws with little consequence.
Highway money may not be fungible, but political capital is – and every moment local officials spend trying to secure funding for new highways is time they could spend addressing the real issues that actually stand between success and failure for Rust Belt communities in the 21st century.
The problem is that we often provide interpretations on the basis of “best available data” that is either of sketchy provenance or subject to significant later revision. That breeds snap judgments and bad decisions.
Relying on me – an ordinary consumer with little detailed understanding of food production and virtually no information – to use my decision-making power to move the food system toward greater sustainability is absurd.