By Lew Prince

I’ve owned a small business in St. Louis for 31 years. Like most of my customers and my 26 employees, I watched as greedy hedge funds, irresponsible investment banks and unscrupulous mortgage companies decimated our savings, investments and pension funds, and nearly drove our country into another Great Depression. Now those same hedge funds, investment banks and mortgage companies are spending more than $1.4 million dollars a day (that’s right -- a day) to scuttle financial reform legislation in the U.S. Senate.

What’s the financial industry so afraid of?

Well, there’s the Consumer Financial Protection Agency (CFPA), which passed the U.S. House of Representatives but is under siege in the Senate. The CFPA would make sure banks, mortgage companies, payday lenders and car dealers lay out loan terms in plain language so individuals, families and businesses will know what they’re getting into when they borrow money. It would set clear ground rules for loans, protecting Americans from the kinds of sleazy deals that cost so many people their homes and livelihoods in the wake of the recent Wall Street collapse. And it would actually reduce government bureaucracy by streamlining and combining all federal consumer loan regulations under one roof.

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