In the Swamp

Dec 03 2017
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In the Swamp

Back in 2011, a Democrat congress passed a law to “reform” the financial industry in America. It was signed into law by a Democrat president. The law provided for creation of an agency called the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Nice name, doesn’t it sound helpful? It always sounds nice, of course, to the liberal “do gooders” who think more government is the answer to every problem. It was the beginning of an outrageous affront to freedom loving Americans. Let me explain.

The CFPB is now an agency with over 1,600 employees. Its budget is over $600 million per year. They are from the government, and they are there to protect us. Yes, they are supposedly protecting us from banks, credit unions, brokerages, lenders, mortgage companies, and debt collectors. My sarcasm aside, what is wrong with the CFPB? Let me explain.

The interim director of the CFPB, Mick Mulvaney, appointed by President Trump, commented on CFPB in 2014. He said, “It’s a wonderful example of how a bureaucracy will function if it has no accountability to anybody”. With the CFPB’s bureaucratic overreach and political bias, I hope he seizes this perfect opportunity to drain some of the swamp in Washington.

The CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve. This means Congress has no say on its budget. Furthermore, the CFPB director cannot be fired by the President; you see, the law specifically excludes the CFPB from federal executive departments. The director is totally independent, answering to no one, not even the American voters who pay his salary. The agency was designed intentionally to avoid oversight by Congress.

In just these last days, the CFPB has been in the news again. The CFPB has sued the president in federal court. Yes, a government agency is suing the President, challenging his authority to staff the executive branch. Using your tax money. The worst example ever, of an out of control agency which answers to no one. Not even the president.

Also, the CFPB is fighting numerous lawsuits which challenge its very constitutionality. Some folks, myself included, think that the constitution clearly states that Congress has the power of the purse. Since Congress has no control over CFPB’s budget, courts will decide if CFPB is even entitled to exist. Again, using your tax money.

The CFPB, like other agencies, collects fines and fees. However, the law does not require them to deposit those funds in the federal Treasury. This is incredible! The director has collected billions of dollars in fines, and channeled some of it to consumer lobbyists. So, liberal special interest groups are now funded by CFPB. And guess what? They keep coming back for more. They always do.

The partisan bias at the CFPB, dominated by the Democrat party, prevents fair and evenhanded decision making. How bad is the bias? Of the 1,600 employees at CFPB, not a single one made a donation to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, while many of them contributed to Hillary Clinton’s. I smile when I think of their reaction to the election of November 2016.

In 2015, the CFPB fined Ally Financial a total of $80 million for allegedly discriminating against minority borrowers. But there was a problem. You see, Ally is prohibited by law from collecting data on race or ethnicity of its borrowers. So, how did CFPB know there was any discrimination? They used a computer program based on borrowers’ last names and addresses! It is called Bayesian Improved Surname Geocoding (BISG). I am outraged that the federal government used this information to “predict” an individual American’s race.

To make matters worse, the CFPB produced regulations that have raised the cost of an average auto loan by an estimated $600. Americans do not need this kind of “protection” from the federal government!

So, what are the citizens to do with this government monster, the CFPB? After all, the government is supposed to be “of the people, by the people, and for the people”. And we are paying for it, after all.

Mulvaney says he wants to reform the CFPB, to remove the political bias. I am sure he has the best of intentions, he is a distinguished public servant. But I have a better idea.

Just kill it.

        

Scott S. Kramer is chairman of the Republican Party of Kendall County.

Published earlier in the Boerne Star