Sidestepping Congress in the Name of Progress

Nothing is simple in Washington.  But, alas, there is good news to report:

Finally, Americans have a consumer watchdog, someone to protect them against unfair mortgage lenders and payday loan services.  His name is Richard Cordray and he reportedly is widely respected.

President Obama confirmed Cordray, a former Ohio attorney general, as director of the newly formed Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

But Congressional Republicans are protesting the appointment, even though they say they have nothing against Cordray, whose appointment they filibustered last month.  Instead, Republicans, who have held up the bureau’s mission since July and who frowned upon the first nominee for  director — Elizabeth Warren, now a Democratic candidate for the Senate –say they want more oversight for the CFPB.  Specifically, they want congressional oversight; um…yeah…like that would ensure anything gets done!!  Let alone done fairly.  Mostly, conservatives are grousing because Obama circumvented them to name Cordray the bureau’s director in a recess appointment.  Both excuses are just that:  excuses.  And lame ones at that.

Here’s the real deal: Republican legislators don’t want real oversight of abuses that contributed heavily to the financial meltdown of 2008 and 2009.  They don’t so much care about the financial rights and protection of working-class Americans. Rather, they want to support the very banks, institutions, and CEOs who contributed to this nation’s current economic hardships.  They are the protectors of the uber-rich and the consistently corrupt. They only say they are looking out for all Americans.  Baloney.

The establishment of this bureau and the appointment of Cordray as its director is a no-brainer.  Throughout his career, Cordray has built a reputation of safeguarding consumers while challenging bankers and financial corporations who circumvent the law. He is also known as a bipartisan bridge builder.

In the current environment — where so many Americans are struggling to put food on the table — he may well become known as a hero, if we allow him to get to work.

So instead of “consumers beware,” maybe we should say, “Republican legislators beware.”  Richard Cordray is on a mission: to protect the kind of workers who built this country and who, if given the chance, are determined to re-build it and to make a great country greater.