By Dan Calabrese
This is a very hard thing for Democrats to understand. In their world, business is the enemy, and once you get your hands on political power, one of the first things you use it for is to harass and threaten every business you can. Not only does it make life miserable for those Democrats hate, but it also provides money-making opportunities for Democrats’ favorite friends the trial lawyers and labor unions.
When Barack Obama signed legislation creating the Consumer and Financial Protection Bureau – a bill drafted by Elizabeth Warren – the idea was to create an unaccountable federal bureaucracy that could find, investigate, harass and threaten businesses with impunity. Congress could not cut its funding, and the president couldn’t even fire its director, which meant Obama-appointed leftist Richard Cordray could supposedly serve in perpetuity even if a Republican president was elected. And if he decided to quit, Warren wrote the law in such a way that he’d be able to name his own replacement.
It seemed like a foolproof plan. But . . . oops!
There is still this thing called the federal judiciary, which wasn’t buying the idea that a departing agency director can name his own replacement over the objection of a sitting president. So when Cordray quit, Donald Trump succeeded in appointing Budget Director Mick Mulvaney as interim director. Mulvaney has chosen to retool the CFPB to make it an actual servant of the public, rather than using it to cause problems for the business community.
Democratic lawmakers asked U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau chief Mick Mulvaney on Wednesday why he has not issued any sanctions during his five months at the agency.
President Donald Trump in November tapped Mulvaney, already White House budget chief, to also serve as interim head of the agency conceived to stamp out abusive lending after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
“Are you telling me that every single financial institution in America has suddenly snapped into full compliance with every single consumer financial law?” asked Democratic Representative Carolyn Maloney.
Mulvaney, a former Republican congressman, has said that the agency overstepped its reach in the past and that he aims to help fulfill Trump’s promise to cut regulations for industry.
In his first appearance as CFPB head before the Republican-controlled Congress, Mulvaney said that he has brought charges for abusive lending but continued to describe his vision for scaling back the reach of the independent agency.
“Our job is to enforce federal consumer financial laws,” Mulvaney said in an opening statement. “Our focus will be on carrying out only those activities Congress explicitly wrote into law.”
Under Mulvaney’s watch, the CFPB has dropped cases against payday lenders, put a probe into Equifax Inc. on ice and is weighing whether to drop other enforcement actions, Reuters has reported.
Mulvaney has said he intends to invalidate rules that would significantly curb payday lending as soon as possible.
See what gets Democrats up in arms? When they don’t see a federal agency punishing businesses, they think the agency isn’t doing it’s job, because that’s the only conceivable mission they can imagine a federal agency having.
What Mulvaney is actually doing is bringing the CFPB to a role that might actually help consumers without functioning as a blunt-force instrument against the business community just because it can. One of Cordray’s most egregious tendencies was to reject outright the options of mediation and arbitration to solve problems, because he preferred to force businesses into defending themselves against class-action lawsuits. If you know anything about those, you know they tend to make trial lawyers rich while their clients get 50-cent coupons for video rentals or some such thing.
Cordray pulled this kind of crap because he could, and the “independent” nature of the CFPB made it possible for him to get away with it. Mulvaney is trying to make the CFPB more accountable and less focused on beating up companies for the sake of it.
You will hear a lot in the media about how the CFPB was a brave advocate for the little guy under Cordray. It was never that. It was a sop for trial lawyers that made life miserable for businesses – with no benefits whatsoever accruing to consumers. That is what Mulvaney is putting a stop to, and that’s why Democrats are upset.
Dan writes Christian spiritual warfare novels and does all kinds of other weird things too. Follow all his activity by liking him on Facebook!