January 4, 2012

And it just keeps getting better

Obama is pushing to get as much of his agenda through as he can. From Bloomberg:
Obama Chooses Politics Over Principle in Naming Cordray
President Barack Obama bypassed the U.S. Senate and summarily installed Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general, as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau yesterday.

Hours later, Obama filled three vacancies on the National Labor Relations Board, possibly the only agency Republicans dislike more than the consumer bureau.

The White House called these �recess appointments,� even though Congress technically wasn�t in recess. In doing so, the president is playing with fire. He risks an election-year legal challenge that could hamstring the consumer bureau and several other financial regulators whose pending confirmations will probably now stall. The president�s authority -- and that of future executives -- to fill administration posts without Senate approval may be limited by the courts. We think Obama risks too much to make what is largely a political point -- that he, more than the Republican Party, stands by American workers and consumers.

Senate Republicans have blocked Cordray, not because they think he�s unqualified but because they want to revamp the agency. Its financing, for example, comes from the Federal Reserve, making it harder for lawmakers to bend the agency to their will than if they controlled the purse strings. As for the NLRB, Republicans say the board is advancing an anti-business, pro-labor agenda, especially after it filed a complaint against Boeing Co. (BA) for trying to build planes in South Carolina while workers were on strike in Washington state.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is a product of the Dodd-Frank bill -- the 2,300 page behemoth that was supposed to replace the seven page Glass�Steagall Act of 1933 that was repealed by Prez. Clinton. We already have tons of Consumer Protection laws on the books -- we do not need another bureaucracy and the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau gets its funding from the Federal Reserve is just another potential for stupidity. No oversight -- bubbles here we come. And this little bit of joy from Reuters:
Fed says expand Fannie, Freddie role to aid housing
The U.S. government-run mortgage finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could play a bigger role in turning around the battered U.S. housing market, the Federal Reserve told Congress, a call that looks set to run into stiff political opposition.

The Fed, in a paper sent to lawmakers on Wednesday, outlined an array of steps that could be taken to help the housing sector, including allowing Fannie and Freddie to provide cheaper mortgages to a broader pool of homeowners.

The two companies, the biggest sources of U.S. mortgage funding, were seized by the government in 2008 when they were on the brink of collapse. They have been propped up by $169 billion in taxpayer aid since then, making them a target of many on Capitol Hill.

Even the Obama administration, in a trio of alternatives laid out early last year to reform the U.S. mortgage finance system, supported reducing the government's role in housing finance.
I do not know about you but it certainly makes me feel warm and fuzzy knowing that the growth of the federal government is accelerating at such a nosebleed pace. The 2012 election is crucial if we are going to have anything left. Posted by DaveH at January 4, 2012 8:52 PM
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