Pumpkin has tweeted again to distract from the truly terrible things he’s doing. Today’s kerfuffle is where he tweeted that he has turned down being made Time Person of the Year, because Time called him and wanted a full interview and photo shoot, and he couldn’t be bothered. Time, for its part, does not contact its PotY honoree in advance. Ever. So, Time tweeted calling Pumpkin the liar that he is, only in journalist-ese: “The President is incorrect….” And now everyone and their brother is tweeting to mock the Orange Julius.
But all this is stealing attention that needs to be paid to the latest demolition operation on one of the most progressive and small-d democratic agencies of the government: the Consumer Financial Protection Board.
The CFPB is one of the few government agencies is specifically tasked to reduce the overwhelming advantage large banks and financial companies have over consumers. Between the forced arbitration clauses, the massive information inequality, and deceptive marketing, consumers stand little chance. The CFPB was designed to even things up, at least a little. So, of course, the Rethuglicans must smash it.
The CFPB was supposed to be independent, but Pumpkin has decided to appoint Richard Mulvaney, one of his stooges, to take over as the director now that Richard Cordray is stepping down. The design of the CFPB is that it remains as free as it can of political pressures, and that especially means not having the President — not any President, to be sure, but especially not this human tire fire – unilaterally appointing its chair.
In the words of Barney Frank, one of the original sponsors of the bill creating the CFPB:
We gave a lot of attention to how to structure the CFPB and how to protect its independence, because its job is to go after some very powerful forces in the economy. The point is, we intend what [former CFPB Director Richard] Cordray was doing to have this kind of autonomy.
So now, just as the EPA’s job now is to enable polluters, and the FCC’s job is to ensure that telecom companies can shred the public for whatever rents they want, the CFPB’s job will become making sure that any usurious whim of banks and credit card companies will have the force of law, and that debtors’ prisons will once again flourish across the land.
This is the point: don’t let loud squawky BS like tweeting about Time Magazine distract us from the real treasonous kleptomania going down quietly.