Let’s Party Like It’s 2008: The GOP’s Full Assault On The CFPB

Jul 23 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

All creatures have a brain that inherently remembers past life experiences they can reflect on and use as a protection for the future. Wild animals use their memory to remember where to find food and water sources as well as which animals are predators. Human beings should remember which people and organizations are predatory to protect themselves from being cheated out of money and freedoms, but in case they forget, Democrats and President Obama helped consumers by passing legislation to regulate the banking and financial industry. The regulatory agency also protects the country from unscrupulous financial organizations and Wall Street investors that were responsible for the catastrophic meltdown that occurred in 2007-2008 because the Bush Republicans allowed financial groups to have free reign without any monitoring.

For any human being who lives in a civilized country to forget the damage unregulated investors and banks wrought on the world is unbelievable, but Republicans either have forgotten how and why the economic meltdown occurred or just do not care that a repeat will send the world into a depression. Since every Republican in Congress was alive during the 2008 meltdown, the only reasonable explanation is that even though they remember why the meltdown happened, their unwavering allegiance to the banks and financial industry coupled with abject contempt for the American people forces them to undo the legislation that regulates the financial industry.

On the anniversary of the passage of financial reforms, Republicans have already introduced and passed legislation to weaken the bureau that is tasked with protecting consumers. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is barely opened for business and as promised, House Republicans are looking for ways and means to weaken the agency’s power before it can start holding banks accountable for abusive practices and charging consumers who want to use their own money. The law was passed for the simple purpose of protecting consumers, but as usual, Republicans argue the agency places too much burden on banks even though it has just opened for business and has not begun regulating the industry.

The Republicans want oversight transferred to a committee that will have veto power over the CFPB and restrict what Republicans call “an unnecessary government overreach that would increase costs on banks and small businesses and constrict access to credit for average Americans.” The language is nothing new, and does not reflect the purpose of the CFPB which is, “to make markets for consumer financial products and services work for Americans—whether they are applying for a mortgage, choosing among credit cards, or using any number of other consumer financial products.”  It does not increase costs on banks or small businesses, but it does restrict banks from taking unfair advantage of consumers. The Republicans are also on a rampage to destroy the Frank-Dodds law because it “promotes the financial stability of the United States by improving accountability and transparency in the financial system,  ends “too big to fail”, protects the American taxpayer by ending bailouts, protects consumers from abusive financial services practices, and for other purposes.” As usual, any law Democrats passed to protect American citizens is inherently offensive to Republicans because it forces corporate banks and investors to conduct their businesses fairly.

The Republicans have introduced three separate bills to delay the law by cutting funding for agencies to carry out many of the new rules, and approved a bill Thursday that would strengthen the veto power of the Financial Stability Oversight Council over the bureau’s decisions. The Republicans in the House want the authority to restrict regulators from doing their jobs which is nothing new, and they also want to make it nearly impossible for President Obama to appoint a director. One of the Republican bills calls for a five-member commission rather than a single director to head the agency as well as delaying transfer of powers to the new agency. It is certainly normal for Republicans to complain about the scope of the watchdog bureau because they want no regulations on the financial industry.

How easy Republicans forget that they deregulated the industry when George W. Bush was president and within 6 years investment bankers and Wall Street had crashed the economy and cost Americans billions of dollars to shore up failing banks. To pay for the bailouts, Republicans borrowed the billions of dollars and increased the nation’s debt that they are now blaming on President Obama. All that money could have been better spent on infrastructure improvements if the Bush Republicans had not deregulated the industry in the first place. To add insult to injury, Republicans have the audacity to hold the economy hostage in debt ceiling negotiations over the debt they caused bailing out the banks and deregulating the industry. Now they want to return to their deregulatory policies so the industry can repeat their errors again at the expense of the American people.

Of all the Republican policies to hate and ridicule as stupid, it is their ideological hatred of regulations. Any reasonable person knows that without regulations, people make bad decisions and when unrestricted financial gains are involved, organizations like banks and investment managers will destroy entire economies to increase their bottom line. The derivative debacle that played a major part in causing the world’s markets to nearly die was entirely because there were no restrictions to prevent banking scams that under normal circumstances would be labeled cheating. There is no doubt that left unregulated, the financial industry would repeat their practices to make more profits and that is why it is crucial to have regulations in place to stop them before they crash the economy again. In fact, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said that, “Any sweeping reform comes with costs and uncertainties, but I believe there’s widespread agreement that the regulatory structure, before the crisis, was inadequate.”  Bernanke may agree there were inadequate regulations before the crisis, but Republicans do not and are fighting to return to the same conditions to prevent banks from following consumer protection regulations.

One of the Republicans’ plans is to put the new Bureau under the House’s purview so it is subject to Congressional appropriations. If that isn’t enough control for Republicans, they want to appoint a committee to veto the Bureau’s rules and obstruct regulators. The CFPB’s purpose is to “streamline bureaucracy by  consolidating power from seven agencies into one, focus on transparency, disclosures, and protection against deceptive or abusive practices. The CFPB has authority over most financial products including credit cards and mortgages and protects consumers from unfair charges and unscrupulous mortgage lenders”. It is obvious that Republicans are protecting crooked banks and Wall Street because they contribute heavily to Republican candidates. It is also very obvious that Republicans are choosing to protect big business instead of the American people who will end up bailing out the crooks when their malfeasance causes them to default on their obligations.

The Republicans are pushing “free market capitalism” that is just code for extreme Libertarian policies where there are no rules or regulations on any type of business. Americans are going to be paying for the Bush Republican deregulation for decades, but half of the population still supports Republican efforts to return to an unregulated financial industry as if they have no memory of why the economy is in the position it is now. There is just no accounting for stupidity regardless how much one tries and it is tragic that Republicans have the support to return the country to the same place it was before the economic crash. Republicans reverted to their weary excuse that regulations hurt banks and businesses, but to say it hurts consumers is beyond comprehension. However, there are still cognitively challenged Americans who will believe any lie Republicans proffer and it is unfortunate that the rest of the county suffers from the actions of stupid Republican voters.

The Republicans are on pace to undo every achievement Democrats and President Obama made in two years, and the only saving grace is that the Senate and President Obama will attempt to thwart House Republican’s efforts. There is still danger though because Democrats and Obama have to allow Republicans to have their way in order to keep the government functioning. That is why America is doomed and what is left of our representative democracy is hanging on by a thread. We all owe a hearty thank you to those on the left for handing power to Republicans by encouraging Democratic voters to sit out the 2010 midterm elections. The GOP did a nice job of obstructing Democrats without controlling the Congress, and now that they control funding in the House, they control the country and there is nothing Democrats can do except send out emails alerting us to the impending doom and beg for donations. Our protections, like the banking regulations are gone, and so is any semblance of democracy. Americans have witnessed the downfall of a once-great country and it is good that we have memories of a better time; because that is all there is left.


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