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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

GOP Lunacy on The CFPB

Dec 12th, 2011

The banks got us where we are today. Lack of oversight coupled with massive deregulation allowed them to do it. It wasn't Fannie and Freddie's fault. Period.

So, what's with the big holdup appointing someone to head the Consumer Finanacial Protection Bureau?

Following the Senate filibuster of CFPB nominee Richard Cordray last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) ventured into the land of whack-doodled, crack-potted, nit-witted super-delusion while discussing the topic on Meet The Press.

Ryan Grim writes:

"Graham spoke as if the bureau had yet to be created and debate was over how to shape it, rather than discussing the nominee, Richard Cordray, the former attorney general in Ohio.

"This consumer bureau that they want to propose is under the Federal Reserve, no appropriation oversight, no board. It is something out of the Stalinist era," Graham said."

Got that? Nevermind that the structure of the bureau was debated at length, voted on and passed overwhelmingly and arguably has more checks and balances than any other regulatory body in U.S. History.

It's suddenly Stalinist.

Lindsey is actually arguing that he is protecting our freedom from a terrible threat. I would simply love to have him look me in the eye and explain how this is a greater sign of creeping totalitarianism than the indefinite detention provisions in S1867 which he so vocally defends.

Not to be outdone, Senate minority "leader" Mitch McConnell appeared on Fox to declare that protecting consumers from predatory lending and credit practices would "bring down the banking system."

Pat Garofolo tears the whole bunch a new one:

"The GOP may have decided this is a clever line of attack, but that doesn’t make it any more true. For starters, the CFPB was created by an act of Congress, which mandated that the agency have a director. By McConnell’s logic, the head of every cabinet or regulatory agency is “another unelected czar.”

Moreover, it’s simply a lie to say that the CFPB director has unlimited power and is subject to no oversight. As we explained last week, the CFPB, unlike any of the other federal financial system regulators, can have it’s rules struck down by a vote of the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), a panel composed of the heads of the bank regulatory agencies, the Treasury Secretary, and the Federal Reserve Chairman. No other financial regulator is subject to this sort of check. Theoretically, the FSOC could veto each and every rule that the CFPB makes.

Finally, McConnell has a dim view of the banks in this country if he believes that consumer protection rules would bring the whole banking system down. Implicit in that argument is the belief that banks must rip people off in order to make a profit. McConnell’s rhetoric leads to the conclusion that the GOP not only believes banks must hose consumers to survive, but that Republicans are only too happy to help the banks achieve that end."

Dave Weigel frames all this mania as cover for a larger "nullification crisis" involving Obama's policies and, more specifically, Obama's nominees:

"Richard Cordray was the safe choice to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The Ohio Democrat didn’t clash with bankers over TARP oversight, like Elizabeth Warren had. She, as Republican ad-makers are now telling Massachusetts voters, is a Harvard professor who loves Occupy Wall Street. Cordray is a five-time Jeopardy! champion and a former state attorney general. Easy sell."

Steve Benen and James Fallows agree.

But, for the sake of argument, is it possible the Republicans have made a reasonable request for modifications in good faith?

Grim explains why the answer to that question is a resounding "no" in a single sentence:

"Republicans have insisted that they will oppose any nominee unless a board of bank regulators is empowered to veto decisions the consumer bureau makes."

Got that? Make sense now? Of course it doesn't. One more time, this is already built in to a degree that reduces the CFPB's power substantially.

We can talk until our faces are blue about the dangers posed by the minority party's nullification obsession.

When are we going to force the discussion over the fact that they're all just pathologically lying?

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