This article was published by The McAlvany Intelligence Advisor on Monday, November 20, 2017:
The first president of the republic warned his citizens about the inherent dangers of government: “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence, it is force; like fire, a troublesome servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”
Washington was merely putting in elegant form what the founders were attempting: to keep government from overriding the rights of individual citizens. As James Madison noted in March, 1792: “As a man is said to have a right to his property, he may be equally said to have a property in his rights. Where an excess of power prevails, property of no sort is duly respected. No man is safe in his opinions, his person, his faculties, or his possessions.”
Thomas Jefferson expressed it this way: “The true theory of our Constitution is surely the wisest and best … (for) when all government … shall be drawn to Washington as the center of all power, it will render powerless the checks provided of one government on another, and will become as … oppressive as the government from which we separated.”
Under the Obama administration the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was deliberately crafted to “protect” itself from those checks and balances:
Its funding comes not from congressional appropriations but from the Federal Reserve …
It is headed by a single director … who may not be fired by the President except for “cause”…, and
The courts are required to give extra deference to the CFPB’s decisions….
This was the conclusion drawn by Ian Murray in summarizing his study, “The Case Against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau,” released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute in September. Added Murray: “These provisions violate constitutional norms of checks and balances on executive power and have led the CFPB to abuse its power, including by trying to regulate in areas where its statutory authority is expressly limited.”
One of the most egregious abuses is its enforcement of “Operation Chokepoint,” a program designed to damage gun dealers and other industries deemed by the Obama Administration not to be in the best interest of the public. As Murray concluded:
The CFPB is too problematic to fix by relying on better discretion from is director and other personnel. Its problems are so fundamental that it should probably be abolished.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia last month declared that the rogue agency is unconstitutional. In its ruling in PHH Corporation v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the court gave a lesson in constitutional government as created by the founders:
This is a case about executive power and individual liberty. The U.S. Government’s executive power to enforce federal law against private citizens – for example, to bring criminal prosecutions and civil enforcement actions – is essential to societal order and progress, but simultaneously a grave threat to individual liberty.
The Framers understood that threat to individual liberty. When designing the executive power, the Framers first separated the executive power from the legislative and judicial powers…. To ensure accountability for the exercise of executive power, and help safeguard liberty, the Framers then lodged full responsibility for the executive power in the President of the United States, who is elected by and accountable to the people.
The text of Article II provides quite simply: “The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America.” And Article II assigns the President alone the authority and responsibility to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed.” As Justice Scalia explained: “The purpose of the separation and equilibration of powers in general, and of the unitary Executive in particular, was not merely to assure effective government but to preserve individual freedom.”
After reviewing the defense attorneys’ arguments that somehow the CFPB was legal and justified, the court concluded:
In light of the consistent historical practice under which independent agencies have been headed by multiple commissioners or board members, and in light of the threat to individual liberty posed by a single-Director independent agency, we conclude that … the CFPB is unconstitutionally structured.
While it’s comforting to know that at least one court in the land understands the necessity of “tying men down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution” (another quote from Jefferson), if the Trump administration leaves the CFPB operational, it also leaves open the opportunity for a future anti-freedom administration to use it as a hammer to bludgeon its political enemies or those deemed to be politically incorrect.
Remember please that it was the CFPB that enforced the odious Operation Chokepoint designed to damage, hopefully fatally, gun dealers and other small businesses held by the administration in ill repute. The best thing Mulvaney, or whoever Trump appoints to replace the head of the CFPB, could do would be to pull its teeth: stop enforcing present rules, stop writing more of them, end any present “investigations” into violations of its own rules, and then firing the 1,600 government bureaucrats presently employed there.
Investors.com : How Can We Fix The CFPB? Shut It Down
CEI.org : The full report: The Case against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Investors.com : Don’t Pick A New Head For CFPB – Close It Down Instead
Bloomberg.com : Trump Considers Naming Mulvaney Interim CFPB Director
PHH CORPORATION, ET AL., PETITIONERS v. CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION BUREAU, RESPONDENT Decided October 10, 2016