This isn’t quite Harry Reid Senate Nuclear Option-level karma…but it’s close.
During the Obama administration, Sen. Elizabeth Warren was one of the leading forces behind the formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. It is an extra-legal layer of government created in the wake of the Financial Crisis from last decade. Like most government solutions pushed by emotional momentum, it was a bad idea, poorly executed.
Upon their creation, the CFPB was given unprecedented authority over home finance, student loans, credit cards and banking practices. Never mind that there are already duly-passed laws that deal with such things. No. Those who worship at the altar of more government wanted something with a little more teeth. And they got it.
The agency’s leadership consists of a single director who is (at best) loosely accountable to the president and only removable for good cause. That violates constitutional and historical precedents applied to federal regulators. That’s not just my opinion. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled thusly last year.
Much as Dr. Frankenstein lost control over the monster he created, so too did Congressional Democrats (and a few Republicans) drop the reins on THIS monster when Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President. Suddenly, HE appointed the CFPB’s director. He chose former Congressman Mick Mulvaney—a critic of the bureau. This has proven to be one of Trump’s best moves. Mulvaney has turned the agency into the Washington equivalent of the Maytag repairman. They are no longer leveraging unchecked authority against lending institutions. He has made them practically inert. That’s about as close to perfect as a government agency can get…in my opinion.
But the most delicious schadenfreude-laced moment came last week when Sen. Warren sent Mulvaney 105 questions about his management of the CFPB and handling of cases against payday lenders and others. Mulvaney drolly informed the Senator that he doesn’t have to answer a damned thing. That’s the way this agency was created. It was SUPPOSED to be an unaccountable enforcement arm of the government. It was SUPPOSED to be a tool that Statists could use to intimidate private businesses without fear of repercussion.
But that same insularity is the now the reason that Director Mulvaney can tell Senator Warren, in essence, to pound sand. In his response to Warren, Mulvaney made sure she knew why.
“I encourage you to consider the possibility that the frustration you are experiencing now, and that which I had a few years back, are both inevitable consequences of the fact that the Dodd-Frank… Act insulates the Bureau from virtually any accountability to the American people through their elected representatives,”
Dat’s a Boom!
Much like Reid could not envision a day when Democrats didn’t rule the Senate when he implemented his Nuclear Option on filibusters; Warren and others never looked towards the day when an unaccountable federal enforcement agency would be under direction of someone they despised. That is flipping delicious!
One of the many things I constantly say about government power is this. Never give government any power that you wouldn’t want your worst enemy to wield over you. Because eventually, someone you do not like will be calling the shots.
Elections have consequences.