Do Two Half-Victims Make a Whole Case?

Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2015

Welcome to the new frontier of progressive law enforcement: extorting damage awards from businesses without naming anyone who’s been damaged.

More than a year after persuading Ally Bank to pay $80 million to allegedly abused borrowers, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) still hasn’t distributed a nickel to the alleged victims. Is it possible that victims aren’t getting paid because there are no victims?

Recently we told you about the bizarre federal campaign against auto lenders in which bureaucrats guess the ethnicity of borrowers based on their last names and addresses. The feds then claim discrimination in interest rates if the people they assume are minorities on average pay more than similar borrowers that the feds assume are white. This is not a joke.

By law, auto dealers who offer financing to car buyers are not allowed to record a borrower’s race. But bureau staff and their colleagues at the Obama Justice Department still want to sue the banks that provide these loans. So they assign probabilities for the race of the borrowers based on their names and where they live.

It’s good enough for government work. But what if one day the government has to identify the victims, verify that they really are members of minority groups and confirm that they suffered discrimination? That task is proving to be difficult.

Ally agreed to fork over the $80 million in damages (and $18 million in penalties) in December 2013. The bureau said that “discriminatory pricing differences resulted from Ally giving dealers the ability and incentive to mark up interest rates” and that this pricing and compensation structure “injured more than 235,000 minority borrowers.” But remember, 235,000 was a guess, and 16 months later the number of victims who have been identified and paid is–zero. The problem isn’t Ally, which says it deposited $80 million into an escrow account in January 2014.


Economist Marsha Courchane of Charles River Associates recently co-authored a critique of the bureau’s methods for spotting discrimination in auto lending. She tells us that if the bureau used its current methodology in the 2013 Ally case, fractions of borrowers would be added together to generate the total.

In other words, if two borrowers each have a 50% chance of being black, they would count as one black borrower. In reality, both could be white, black, Asian, or members of any other racial category. But at the CFPB two fractions can add up to one victim.

This is supposed to qualify as a great leap forward in the politics of racial grievance–not just protected classes of people but protected fractions of people, or perhaps aggrieved percentages of people.

But how do you distribute money to fractions of victims? A bureau spokesman tells us that “payments cannot be sent until all affected consumers have been given a full opportunity to participate in the settlement, which requires extensive preparation and outreach.” We can only imagine.



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  • Tyranny. Intimidation for the sake of intimidation. Will the feds next put bank president’s in FEMA camps for their crimes against humanity?

    Don’t worry about the money, though. The feds will dole it out–in an ELECTION YEAR. It’s blatant vote buying.

    Meanwhile, when I ordered the tax forms I needed to do my taxes, the IRS didn’t even have in stock commonly used forms. The notice in the envelope says they’re on backorder. What incompetence.

    Lawlessness, stupidity, incompetence–that’s what pandering to diversity has brought to the federal government. They are my enemy. I treat the feds as such.

    • The Worlds Scapegoat

      It could be worse. Usted podría estar leyendo esto en alemán.

      (I used google translate)

      • Alexandra1973

        I actually understand Spanish but not German, how sad is that?

    • dukem1

      This is just a guess – and the article is about guessing- but I’d guess the US has more laws, regulations, stipulations and etc. on the books, regarding race, than South Africa at the height of apartheid.

      • Usually Much Calmer

        Yeah, I’d put my chips on that one, too. Life is funny, huh?

    • LHathaway

      “Will the feds next put bank president’s in FEMA camps for their crimes against humanity”

      With the left, the right and centrists all blaming the rich, and considering we live in a democracy, it is only a matter of time before they are put in prison.

      • Alexandra1973

        Seems it’s a crime to be rich because not everyone has a lot of money. That’s why it’s almost a crime to be White…because we have attributes that other races don’t.

        If you came by your money honestly, I have no issue with that.

        • LHathaway

          The more you benefit, the more you owe?

    • Lexonaut

      “Meanwhile, when I ordered the tax forms I needed to do my taxes, the IRS
      didn’t even have in stock commonly used forms. The notice in the
      envelope says they’re on backorder. What incompetence.”


      Readers should know that all current IRS forms can be downloaded and printed, and that programs like TurboTax have the forms built in and will allow you to file electronically if you like. You may not like having to do this, but it’s one way of staying out of filing trouble.

      Another is to pay now what you believe is owed and then file for an extension, giving you till sometime next fall to catch up with the actual paperwork and fine tune the payment or refund amount.

      • Spikeygrrl

        GEHHH! I had to live with that for half a dozen years with my former spouse/businesspartner. He always had our receivables already spent several times over before the checks even arrived. IRS extension after extension after extension…I literally couldn’t sleep at night until I became a full-blown alcoholic and could pass out instead.

        THANK GOODNESS that when our 100% bootstrapped business topped $1M in annual sales he FINALLY let me hire a part-time bookkeeper and consulting CPA/tax preparer. Things were saner thereafter…but the damage to both the marriage and the business had already been done.

        My current husband, bless him, lets ME do the household finances. We are never late on a payment (we almost always pay early and/or in large chunks WAY above minimums); our investments and insurances are sensible; and the U.S. Navy prepares our taxes for free within one week of us receiving our forms.

        After all these years, I can FINALLY sleep again.

        • Lexonaut

          “After all these years, I can FINALLY sleep again.”

          My point is that there are easy ways of staying out of certain kinds of trouble with the IRS, and you’ve cited the best reason for doing so.

          And we’re never late either. My wife still works — part time hospice nurse — but I run our finances as if we were a business.

          • Spikeygrrl

            GOOD FOR YOU! Keep it up, my brother. 🙂

            I breed German Shepherd Dogs — as I’ve done off and on for about 25 years — primarily for working applications (e.g., disabled assistance, search & rescue, law enforcement and military).

            Weird little thing: I am very confident in “the Talented [Negro] Tenth.”

            Over the decades, brimming with many days, NONE of my GSDs who came with me to the office EVER made a happy first-time connection with our two non-white long-teem employees. (Once the bond was forged, however, spouse/biz partner and I were SO happy that our dogs loved our animators and our animators loved them back. 😀 )

          • Lexonaut

            An hour ago, over at Mediaite I field tested your Giuliani modification to the Palin ticket. The result, howls of outrage — dozens of them. I’ve had to fall back to replying as follows …

            I can tell from the number and ferocity of the attacks on me in this thread that I’m on to something. That gives me hope.

          • Spikeygrrl

            Wow! Gives me hope too!

            Leftists frothing at the mouth is an infallible indicator of having hit a nerve. 😀

            I caught just a tidbit of Hannity tonight, discussing the upcoming Hillary tour with Ol’ Rudy Himself. His campaign advice: “She should just be herself.” “AAACK!” I squawked to my husband, “That’s TERRIBLE advice! She’s a horrible person even when she’s on her best behavior!” And then it hit me: OH….

            That’s the Rudy we know and love. Crazy like a fox.

      • Alexandra1973

        I found out a while back that I still have to file city tax even though I have no taxable income. Just a simple trip to city hall, a bit of pencil-twirling, and I was done.

    • Sid Ishus

      Try doing business with a Housing Authority.

    • Tim

      Just drove to the IRS building in my hometown. No forms to be had either… and two days before the deadline…

  • Johann Wald

    The producers of my wife’s favorite TV show, The Big Bang Theory, use a similar formula to determine the show’s ethnic mix in their casting. Apparently, the PC crowd has decided the following formula is applicable; 1 dotcom Indian + 1 Jew = 1 Afro.

    • ElComadreja

      Yes. Directly casting a negro would have been too unbelievable for anyone to swallow. You’ll notice Koothrapali never fails to get in a comment about how “brown” he is.

      • fuzzypook

        How about his parents disapproval of the idea of him or his sister getting involved with a white person. Blatant racism, but perfectly acceptable since it’s coming from “brown” people.

  • Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

    The Dime Store Indian was the one who thought up this monstrosity.

    • evilsandmich

      I crib some Denninger/Sailer here and point out that a true protection bureau of that sort would keep those worst off from financing their future away at all instead of finding the best way weigh them down with debt boat anchors.

      From what I recall, many Repugs were afraid to vote against that bureau because of it’s snazzy name.

    • Deacon Blue

      She could end up being your president. Sooner than you think.

  • IstvanIN

    It seems “our” federal government want to bypass becoming SA and go right to Zimbabwe style justice.

    • Wise investors should buy stock in Goodyear, then.

      • Usually Much Calmer

        And short utilities.

        • Guest


  • superlloyd

    Federal guessing games and extortion on supposed discrimination with no tangible evidence. This is a step from disparate impact and just as insane. How much longer can this house of cards hold up? We’re through the looking glass.

  • RyanP

    If we can charge different prices based on age(children/seniors discounts) and gender(ladies night), why can’t race also be a factor? I have yet to hear a consistent argument why the former is ok and the ladder is not.

    • evilsandmich

      Well everyone can be a kid/old, and as far as ladies night goes, just to let you know, it’s not for the benefit of ladies.

      • Spikeygrrl

        These days, everyone can be a “lady” too. Just wear a dress and insist on using the women’s bathroom.

        • Rob

          LOL if you ever find a woman that wears a dress. Those classy days of women wearing dresses are all gone. Now women prefer being feminist wearing the pants if you know what I mean figuratively as well.

        • BlueSonicStreak

          These days, everyone can be a “lady” too. Just wear a dress and insist on using the women’s bathroom.

          This is stupid even as a joke. It’s actually a huge legal issue in many places; trans people are frequently stuck between using a washroom it’s not actually legal to use, and using a washroom where they may be harassed or beaten. It’s really, really not as easy as “wear a dress and walk in.”

          • Spikeygrrl

            But it will be soon, if people like you have their way. And THAT’s no joke.

          • BlueSonicStreak

            I’m sorry, what are you pulling out of your butt now? Do tell who “people like me” are.

          • Spikeygrrl

            I don’t need to pull things out of my butt because I don’t shove them up there to begin with.

            You already not only know what you are, you insist that everyone else know it, too… and applaud.

          • BlueSonicStreak

            you insist that everyone else know it, too

            Yet you cannot name what it is that I want people to applaud.

            Not treating people with mental disorders like garbage? No, in the words of Chris Rock, that’s sh!t you’re SUPPOSED to do.

  • James Hamilton

    Aren’t blacks generally charged higher interest rates because they have poor credit records? Are the Feds trying to say that feckless ghetto blacks must be charged the same interest rates as white suburban professionals?

    • Deacon Blue

      Yes. FICO score be damned.

  • InAFreeCountry

    What a shakedown racket!

  • bubo

    Well, they could just save their money and buy a car they can actually afford outright. (insert loud laugh track here)

    • Tim

      My buddy call it a “one paycheck car”…

  • Sid Ishus

    Without the Wall Street Journal logo I could have mistaken this for an Onion article.

  • Christopher Perrien

    Wow the government has almost gone full circle and gotten back to The 3/5ths Compromise.

    • ElComadreja

      That’s at least 2/5ths too many.

  • how about this

    Oh my God, they said “this is not a joke!” That implies that something involving Blacks is absurd. This is a racist echo of the ignorant stereotype of Black men as comedians. Back in the 1990s, ignorant White rednecks told their kids stories of mythical Blacks with names like Chris Rock. More recent incarnations of the Chris Rock archetype include Dave Chapelle, a Black man who according to legend had his head shaved. This legend is a reflection of the afrophobic fear the White man has of Black hair. This sickness has pervaded our society so much that Black men actually have less body hair than Whites, due to internalized afrophobia. Their follicles are simply too frightened to achieve their full flowering.

  • LackawannaErie

    The anti-white WSJ is pretending to care about this.