A prime function of government is to collectively do those things, which we cannot do as well and/or as efficiently as individuals. One such area is defense, so defending us from foreign aggression is universally acknowledged as a legitimate government role. However, we need note that our elected and appointed officials take oaths to protect us from enemies foreign and domestic, so it it is also a legitimate government role to defend us from domestic aggression in the form of corporate criminal fraud. Sadly, Paul Krugman points out that one party is on the side of the corporate criminals.
Like many advocates of financial reform, I was a bit disappointed in the bill that finally emerged. Dodd-Frank gave regulators the power to rein in many financial excesses; but it was and is less clear that future regulators will use that power. As history shows, the financial industry’s wealth and influence can all too easily turn those who are supposed to serve as watchdogs into lap dogs instead.
There was, however, one piece of the reform that was a shining example of how to do it right: the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a stand-alone agency with its own funding, charged with protecting consumers against financial fraud and abuse. And sure enough, Senate Republicans are going all out in an attempt to kill that bureau…
…How can they do that, when the reform is already law and Democrats hold a Senate majority? Here as elsewhere, they’re turning to extortion — threatening to filibuster the appointment of Richard Cordray, the bureau’s acting head, and thereby leave the bureau unable to function. Mr. Cordray, whose work has drawn praise even from the bankers, is clearly not the issue. Instead, it’s an open attempt to use raw obstructionism to overturn the law.
What Republicans are demanding, basically, is that the protection bureau lose its independence. They want its actions subjected to a veto by other, bank-centered financial regulators, ensuring that consumers will once again be neglected, and they also want to take away its guaranteed funding, opening it to interest-group pressure. These changes would make the agency more or less worthless — but that, of course, is the point… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <NY Times>
Photo credit: The Examiner
At this particular moment I’d like to wring the neck (figuratively, of course) of the Nevada Leg-hound, Harry Reid, who had the votes for authentic filibuster reform, but chose to hump Republican legs instead. I told you we would have cause to regret that decision in very short order, and here it is. Because of Reid’s sedition, and because Republicans govern exclusively for the benefit of millionaires, billionaires and corporate criminals, our protection from criminal Banksters will be less than it should be. All we can do at this point is to keep putting Cordray’s name forward to keep Republicans on Front Street as the pro-fraud party.