I'm confused about the consumer financial protection agency
FunnyOrDie.com got a serious all-star cast together to produce this video in favor of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
Cute. And possibly the germ of a good "financial regulation ... and zombies" book. But the more I talk to people and think about Chris Dodd's CFPA compromise, the more confused I am. Conceptually, it's possible to tuck an independent agency into another agency and have it do its work. But that's not what's going on here. The argument over whether the CFPA should be independent or attached is an argument about whether it should be strong or weak. Otherwise, it's not a conversation worth having.
So insofar as the CFPA is being placed inside the Federal Reserve and its directives are being carried out by Federal Reserve regulators, it's being put into a place where it can potentially be ignored. Priorities are set by the top, not by the middle.
But as much as it's appealing to say that Democrats should walk away from the table and run on the CFPA, it's worth being real about what's going to happen in November: Democrats will lose seats. If they can get three-quarters of a decent CFPA now, they can maybe get one-quarter of one later. Or maybe they can't get one at all. It might be a good issue, but it's not an electoral game-changer.
Getting some sort of CFPA that's run by a presidential appointee and armed with an independent budget this year is better than not getting a CFPA at all. At least in that world, there's someone responsible for consumer products and theoretically empowered to do something about them. Making things a lot better is preferable to making them somewhat better, but making things somewhat better is preferable to not making them better at all, right?
Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who came up with the idea for a CFPA, doesn't agree with that. "My first choice is a strong consumer agency," she said in an interview with the Huffington Post. "My second choice is no agency at all and plenty of blood and teeth left on the floor."
As I said, I'm confused.
March 3, 2010; 5:37 PM ET
Categories: Financial Regulation
Save & Share: Previous: Members of Congress get the same choices as the rest of us
Next: What Reagan deserves
Posted by: Quant | March 3, 2010 5:53 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RyanD1 | March 3, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 6:03 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: srw3 | March 3, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eelvisberg | March 3, 2010 6:10 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: troyaikmanisgod | March 3, 2010 6:20 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RichardHSerlin | March 3, 2010 7:26 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: RichardHSerlin | March 3, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: CynicalJerk | March 3, 2010 7:37 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: danwhalen2 | March 3, 2010 8:02 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: jc263field | March 3, 2010 9:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: agowen100 | March 4, 2010 2:19 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: grooft | March 4, 2010 8:01 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: burndtdan | March 4, 2010 10:03 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: ArmchairFirebrand | March 5, 2010 3:29 AM | Report abuse
The comments to this entry are closed.