(originally published at THE HILL'S pundits blog)
Progressives, workers, consumers, students and Middle Americans of all kinds should begin a real tea party to organize around this: Why are banks that were given trillions of dollars to increase lending raising credit card interest rates, cutting credit limits, increasing mortgage foreclosures and refusing to lend to tens of millions of credit-worthy consumers and businesses?
Progressives and bloggers, instead of merely criticizing those on the right who hijacked the tea parties, and criticizing Fox News and the conservative media for the hijackings, should take ownership of the tea party idea and ownership against the many ripoff actions that are imposing punishment on American taxpayers by those who were given trillions of dollars to increase lending, not decrease lending.
On Thursday the president meets with CEOs of credit card companies. Let's see how hard a stand he takes on behalf of American consumers.
Some of these banking abuses are the piracy of our times: borrowers who offer fair payment schedules but are told to pay 100 percent within 10 days or be foreclosed. Credit card customers who are charged a 30 percent interest rate, which used to be the style of organized crime. And the immense wrong of banks that received trillions of dollars of aid with the purpose of increasing lending but which, according to the Treasury Department, actually reduced net lending in February.
Let's have a tea party that brings together principled liberals and conservatives and the huge majority of Americans who agree with what is stated here. Let's take back the tea party concept from those on the far right who seek to hijack it, whose platform is tax cuts for the wealthy and the kind of phony party suggested by CNBC greed guru Rick Santelli, who waved at the traders on the floor of the Chicago Exchange and said, hilariously: "This is America."
This is not partisan: I don't see the Obama administration officials taking the lead to fight for consumers; in fact, the banks are eating their lunch, whatever their intent.
Enough rate increases. Enough foreclosure waves. Enough bonuses for those on Wall Street who do not deserve bonuses. Enough credit card interest-rate increases by banks that were given trillions to increase lending. Enough 30 percent credit card interest rates. Enough bank lending reductions as we saw in February by those given trillions to lend. Enough treating American taxpayers with contempt by those who want oceans of taxpayer dollars without regard to taxpayer interests, and at times, with direct hostility to taxpayers who gave hard money - money that is being abused.
Enough. Enough. Enough. Let's have a real party, with or without Fox News.