January 4 2012

Protecting Consumers? Not This Way

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

 

As Anna and Charlotte have already noted, President Obama recess-appointed Richard Cordray as director of the Dodd-Frank created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. I highly recommend Anna’s take the constitutionality – or should I say, lack thereof – of the appointment (in case you’re interested, you can also check out constitutional law expert Richard Epstein’s views here).

This afternoon, the President asserted that “Does anybody think that the reason that we got in such a financial mess, the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the worst economic crisis in a generation -- that the reason was because of too much oversight of the financial industry?”

Actually, Mr. President… what many people – including myself – have said is that the financial crisis was caused by the wrong kind of oversight… and too much government intervention.

It’s worth remembering that this position – and indeed, the entire CFPB – is an unnecessary entity. As the system is currently set up, it’s more efficient for companies to hire lobbyists to seek out special favors and tax carve-outs, or to regulate their competitors out of business (and hey, if members of Congress profit in the process, que sera, sera). That kind of crony capitalism is what truly hurts consumers – and truly, the only way to address these flaws is through a limited government that doesn’t have unlimited authority to pick winners and losers. 

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