Like most weeks since November, this week was hard on anyone trying to wade through the sea of breaking news alerts and presidential tweets to stay informed. Rep. Michael Capuano is hoping to shut out all the noise with "A Look Behind the Curtain," a new section of his website featuring a “running list of actions you may have missed that impact America.”
“I fear the old game of deception — pay attention to the shiny object before you, ignore what’s going on behind the curtain,” Capuano wrote on the page. “I also fear the 'mobbing' approach — do so many thing [sic] at one time that most will go unnoticed. It has already started.”
In an interview with Boston Public Radio on Tuesday, Capuano said his office created the frequently-updated list after an increasing desire from people within his district to know more real-world, immediate problems.
“We’ve decided to keep the list of things and let people make the decision for themselves,” Capuano said. “These are things that, in our opinion, will actually directly impact people’s lives in a regular, measurable way. This list is the things that will actually take money out of people’s pockets or change the quality of their life or deny somebody something that they’re already getting … this can’t prevent death by a thousand cuts, but at least I want people to know that that’s what’s happening.”
The list currently features 20 items, including an executive order from Jan. 20 that halted a planned reduction in Federal Housing Administration (FHA) fees — effectively increasing the cost of mortgages for homeowners using FHA insurance. According to the update, 750,000 homeowners will pay $500 more per year for the life of their mortgage, up to $15,000 more on a 30-year mortgage.
“This is a classic one... it does directly impact people, and I cannot for the life of me figure out what the benefit is,” Capuano said. “Nobody in the industry, not real estate brokers, not developers, no one asked for this ... they don’t need the money for any reason. And they know it, and I have no clue — not one iota — why they decided to charge people more.”
Capuano said he hopes "A Look Behind The Curtain" can be a resource for taxpayers, members of his district, and “anyone around the world” interested in accessing this information while bigger stories are talked about in the media. “It’s the old game of rushing people — you send ten people into a store to distract the clerks while one person steals things … I think that’s exactly what’s going on in this administration,” Capuano said. “Every single day there’s another major development, and while that’s happening, a few things are happening behind the scenes that the average person doesn’t see.”
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano is a Democrat who represents Massachusetts's 7th district. To hear his full interview with Boston Public Radio, click on the audio link above.