Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., is using her congressional bullhorn, amplified by 3.7 million Twitter followers, to shame and harass lawful businesses conducting lawful business with other lawful businesses selling lawful goods and services.
And other lawmakers have joined her.
Banking and financial services is already one of the tightest regulated industries in the United States, and she wants to regulate it even more. But rather than propose and pass legislation, she and others are engaged in a campaign to shame them to drop some customers — at the expense of both the banks and the customers.
They’re using their positions on the House Banking and Financial Services Committee to target banks serving the needs of what, in their opinion, are immoral companies, such as firearms manufacturers, the fossil fuel sector, and private prisons and detention centers.
"There's more than one way to skin a cat, and not everything has to be done through legislation explicitly," Ocasio-Cortez told Politico. “We can also use the tools that we have here to pressure change in other ways as well."
Joining her are fellow Democratic House committee members Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Carolyn Maloney of New York. Each has her own individual pet grievance that they expect to air at a committee hearing scheduled for next month.
CEOs of JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs are expected to testify, and each will be publicly vilified because of the companies that they serve.
Earlier this month Ocasio-Cortez took aim at Wells Fargo Chairman Tim Sloan, asking why he was “financing the caging of children,” a reference to family separation at the southern border.
Since that hearing, Wells Fargo announced that it intends to sever its ties with private detention facilities, and JPMorgan announced that it already did following that hearing.
At the same hearing, Pressley hammered Sloan on why his bank continued to finance the firearms industry. Citigroup and Bank of America had already fallen victim to this attack and have since restricted their services in this area.
The point is, if lawmakers aren’t happy with the energy, arms, and private detention sectors, they’re perfectly situated to do something about it using the legislative process — there’s no need to attack another sector of the economy.
In the case of the arms industry, not only is the manufacture of firearms legal, it’s constitutionally protected. Newsmax contributor and Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz had something to say about lawmakers’ attempts to limit the Second Amendment.
“Foolish liberals who are trying to read the Second Amendment out of the Constitution by claiming it's not an individual right or that it's too much of a public safety hazard, don't see the danger in the big picture,” he wrote. “They're courting disaster by encouraging others to use the same means to eliminate portions of the Constitution they don't like.”
Ironically, while Ocasio-Cortez is all too ready to lecture industry leaders on how to run their own companies, she’s incapable of running her own.
She has a six-year-old unpaid corporate tax bill from a failed Bronx-based business called Brook Avenue Press, according to the New York Post.
Although it was ostensibly a publishing house, it never published a single volume. It nonetheless amassed a $1,877.56 New York state tax bill, which was subjected to a lien and later, when she began running for office, a warrant.
The long-delinquent tax bill appears paltry given her current $174,000 congressional salary, and her reported refusal to pay it, an act of obstinance.
Above that, history tells us what happens when the government micromanages the financial services sector. Former President Jimmy Carter signed the Community Reinvestment Act into law in 1977, which pushed banks into offering subprime loans to serve the credit needs of those who otherwise wouldn’t be considered creditworthy.
Although the goal may have been noble — to give low income individuals the ability to become homeowners — the effect was devastating. The new demand for housing created a massive bubble that escalated home prices, while many of those mortgages went into foreclosure.
When the bubble burst, the banks were left holding property worth far less than what was owed on it.
Lawmakers should concentrate on representing their district, serving their constituents, and writing and revising laws — not compelling banks into revising their otherwise legal business practices. They hurt the banks, their customers, and ultimately the economy.
Michael Dorstewitz is a retired lawyer and has been a frequent contributor to BizPac Review and Liberty Unyielding. He’s also a former U.S. Merchant Marine officer and an enthusiastic Second Amendment supporter, who can often be found honing his skills at the range. To read more of his reports - Click Here.
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