GOP to Block Obama Pick Cordray, Leaving Consumer Watchdog CFPB Toothless
At the heart of the CFPB strife is the most basic of partisan fights, a debate over which is less trustworthy: big government or big business.
The problem left unstated here is that the US voter should not be faced with choosing between these two options. Appropriately sized, efficient government regulatory entities are essential to the protection of consumer interests. The protection of individual interests from corporate profitability objectives is at the heart of many regulatory ideas - here are two of the most obvious:
Antitrust: Monopolies are profitable, but harmful to consumers
Food and Drugs: The cost to corporations of cleaning up after e.coli or tainted wipes is less than preventing harm to consumers (costly factory controls are more expensive than victim compensation)
When regulatory bodies become bloated bureaucracies, they lose efficiency and are the subject of political attack. Efficient, effective regulators are easier to justify and have a clear benefit “balance sheet”. Corporations are driven by the bottom line, and when managing consequences is cheaper than preventing negative outcomes, then their choice is obvious. This is not a knock on corporations; they operate to generate profits. But consumers are entitled to protection provided by their representative government to make sure profits are not generated at an unacceptable social cost.