Monday, June 17, 2019

Carrying Out Trump's Agenda

Six days before the last presidential election, Mick Mulvaney admitted "yes, I'm supporting Donald Trump. I'm doing so as enthusiastically as I can given the fact that I think he's a terrible human being."

In Mulvaney's defense, he said two accurate and honest things: 1) Donald Trump is a terrible human being; and 2) he was, very likely, supporting Trump as enthusiastically as possible.  That's a reasonable conclusion given that, Mulvaney, head of the Office of Management and Budget, acting White House chief of staff, and director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has

fired the agency’s 25-member advisory board Wednesday, days after some of its members criticized his leadership of the watchdog agency.

The CFPB said it will revamp the Consumer Advisory Board, known as the CAB, in the fall with all new members.

The panel has traditionally played an influential role in advising the CFPB’s leadership on new regulations and policies. But some members, who include prominent consumer advocates, academics and industry executives, began to complain that Mulvaney was ignoring them and making unwise decisions about the agency’s future.

You will be shocked! shocked! to learn that one of Donald Trump's appointees has apparently been playing footsie with the law:

On Monday, 11 CAB members held a news conference and criticized Mulvaney for, among other things, canceling legally required meetings with the group.

On Wednesday, group members were notified that they were being replaced — and that they could not reapply for spots on the new board.

And where "stakeholders" is spelled "banks, mortgage institutions, real estate companies," etc.

In a statement, the agency’s spokesman, John Czwartacki, took a final swipe at the group. “The outspoken members of the Consumer Advisory Board seem more concerned about protecting their taxpayer funded junkets to Washington, D.C., and being wined and dined by the Bureau than protecting consumers,” he said.

Revamping the board is part of the CFPB’s new approach to reaching out to stakeholders to “increase high quality feedback,” the bureau said in an email to the group. The CFPB will hold more town halls and roundtable discussions, the letter said, and the new CAB will have fewer members.

When Mulvaney was Representative Mulvaney, he labeled the CFBB a joke and wanted its activism on behalf of American consumers restricted. And so

“Mick Mulvaney has no intention of putting consumers above financial firms that cheat them. This is what happens when you put someone in charge of an agency they think shouldn’t exist,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who helped conceive of the bureau, said in a statement.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said: “Mulvaney has proven once again he would rather cozy up with payday lenders and industry insiders than listen to consumer advocates who want to make sure hard-working Americans are not cheated by financial scams.”

Mulvaney already had

stripped enforcement powers from a CFPB unit responsible for pursuing discrimination cases and proposed that lawmakers curb the agency’s powers.

Last week, Mulvaney sided with payday lenders who sued the CFPB to block implementation of new industry regulations. The CFPB filed a joint motion with the payday lenders asking the judge to delay the case until the bureau completes a review of the rules, which could take years.

Firing current members of the advisory board is a huge red flag in this administration’s ongoing erosion of critical consumer financial protections that help average families,” said Chi Chi Wu, an attorney for the National Consumer Law Center who has been a board member since 2016.

 The Consumer Advisory Board is required under the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial law. Members also included the head of retail banking at Citi, the founder of NerdWallet and a director at Texas Appleseed, a public interest law center. Members of two other boards — the Community Bank Advisory Council and the Credit Union Advisory Council — were also dismissed.

A year ago, Mulvaney declared "we are still Elizabeth Warren's baby. Until we break that we will never be considered a gold standard institution." We have a better idea now what Mulvaney- and Trump- would consider "gold standard." "After Trump's election," Emily Bazelon writes in The New York Times magazine

(Elizabeth) Warren and (Bernie) Sanders said that if Trump followed through on his promise to rebuild the economy for workers and their families, they would help. If Trump had championed labor over corporations, he could have scrambled American politics by creating new alliances. But that version of his presidency didn’t come to pass.

It didn't come to pass with President Reagan nor the presidents Bush and, with Mick Mulvaney's assistance, it's full steam ahead for corporate America with consumers getting run over in the process.

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