Don’t defang federal consumer watchdog

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, enacted under the Dodd-Frank financial reform package of 2010, protects consumers from predatory lending practices. This should be a huge relief, especially for recent college graduates with little knowledge of financial institutions and a mountain of student loan debt.

The bureau has returned $12 billion to more than 27 million consumers since its creation. The agency has fought for Long Island students, bringing consumer restitution against some of the biggest lenders, like Discover and Nelnet, a student loan company.

But the bureau is at risk of being undermined by our next Congress. As Long Island consumers, we must keep the teeth in our watchdog and urge our elected officials to do the same.

Risa Nagel, Glen Cove

 

Regrets about the cruelty of youth

I was a right guard on the 1964 high school football team in Freeport. We were undefeated for the season, and the previous year we had won the Rutgers Cup, which was the most coveted prize in local high school football. We thought we were hot stuff. We were full of ourselves.

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That year, we had an equipment manager. We made fun of him at every turn. He was short and round, and he had a haircut that didn’t fit his head. His voice was squeaky, and his carriage was unusual. We made such fun of him that we sometimes made him cry. We would laugh until we couldn’t laugh any more.

Looking back 52 years since I sat on that school bus, I feel so ashamed of myself. My teammates should feel remorse, too. I wish we could locate that former equipment manager and tell him how sorry we are for the way we treated him.

It’s important in life to try to walk in another’s shoes and imagine how that person is feeling.

Richard Sawyer, Sag Harbor

 

Homeless pets need to eat, too

In a perfect world, every person and animal would have a warm place to seek shelter and call home, especially as temperatures plummet. The reality is, homelessness is a problem, and my heart breaks equally for the animals that remain loyally with their owners, weathering the elements together.

In many instances, homeless shelters do not allow pets. This forces some men and women with loving animal companions to remain on the street.

This season, I hope people will find organizations that address this need and provide help for furry family members.

Kelly Vitko, Manhattan

Editor’s note: The writer is a volunteer with the Humane Society of the United States.