While the GOP War on Women has justifiably received some attention, the GOPteabag party’s other war, or one of its other wars, has not gotten the attention it deserves. This war against consumers has been going on for years, if not decades, in one form or another. But in the past few years the war’s main battle concerns the creation, by Congress after the 2008 financial crisis, of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Conservatives in Congress and in throughout wingnut world hate it. They have prevented the appointment of a permanent head for the Bureau, an important obstruction by itself, but also a maneuver designed to extract significant concessions over the Bureau’s authority.
Via Balloon Juice comes this report from Adam Serwer at Mother Jones :
Senate Republicans want three big changes before they’ll stop blocking Cordray. First, they want the CPFB to be by Congress rather than the Federal Reserve. Subjecting the bureau to the congressional appropriations process would compromise its political independence. Second, Republicans want the range of financial institutions the bureau has authority to regulate narrowed. This would leave unsupervised some of the problematic institutions the bureau was created to regulate. The GOP also wants to replace the single director with a board of directors, which would hamper the ability of the bureau to make decisions. Finally, the GOP is demanding that other bank regulators—the same ones who failed to prevent the 2008 financial meltdown—be allowed to chaperone the CFPB by ‘verifying’ that its rules ‘would not harm the safety and soundness of banks.’ This would let regulators who turned a blind eye to exploitative practices in the past because they were profitable tell the CFPB what to do—and the more different regulators have to approve of a rule, the more convoluted and less effective it is likely to be.
Blocking Cordray could leave the CPFB without most of its powers to regulate the very financial institutions whose practices helped lead the country into near-economic collapse in 2008. That’s just how Republicans want it. Having failed to prevent the financial regulation law from being passed, they are now seeking to nullify it through procedural extortion.
This hatred of the CFPB is just really bizarre. In a normal world, a political party that so despised the interests of the population on behalf of the very privileged few would face significant penalties. For sowing the wind, it should reap the whirlwind. But even with its recent election defeats, it continues to possess considerable power and high levels of devotion from people who should know better, if not for themselves, at least for the benefit of others.
It would also be comforting to know our “liberal” mainstream media was on the case. But I’m sure they have more “critical” and entertaining things to report to us on.