Thursday, September 16, 2010

Neither Fish Nor Fowl

The full phrase is “Neither fish nor fowl nor good red meat,” by the way, and I rather like the (apparently unknown) originator’s attitudes regarding food.

At any rate, after having remained undecided for an agonizingly long time, as seems to be his habit, Obama has finally named Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Protection Agency and, as seems equally to be his habit, he has managed to do so in a manner that essentially pleases no one and pisses off everybody. Does he spend all that time so that he can figure out how to do things in the least popular manner?

Populists wanted her appointed because Tim Geithner hates her and because she is strongly and vocally anti-business, and the business cabal wanted her not to be appointed for precisely the same reasons. Obama was nervous about appointing her because he was afraid she would not be confirmed by the Senate; a not unreasonable concern, given that some 80% (or whatever) of his appointments are currently blocked.

So he names her not as director of the new Agency, but as a “presidential assistant,” which avoids need for confirmation and pisses off the Senate. He also has her reporting to him and to Tim Geithner which pisses off the populists and, of course, naming her at all pissed off the business cabal. The populists think that the manner of appointment gives her too little authority, while the business cabal doesn’t even want that snake allowed in the house.

I may be the only one who isn’t pissed off, because I don’t really care about Lizzie one way or the other. My concern is about the whole Consumer Protection Agency thing itself. I like the idea of it, but the way that Congress created it strikes me as a horror. It was created with no rules, but with the authority to make its own rules which will not be subject to review or alteration by any elected official; not even formally by the President and certainly not by Congress.

Just to make things worse, those rules may be changed at the whim of that agency at whatever timing it sees fit, so the banking system will be operating under the volatile and arbitrary rules set by an unelected person in the Executive Branch whose actions are not subject to “advise and consent” once appointed.

There was some grumbling about this when the bill first passed, but it was silenced by Obama supporters because the agency would, after all, be operating under Obama. No mention about the fact that it is a permanent agency and Obama is not a permanent President. No mention of what might happen under a President Palin.

One Congressperson justified the formation of the agency without setting the rules by asking if we wanted them to “write a two-thousand page bill.” Well, yes, we do. They wrote a 7600 page bill to “reform health care” didn’t they? Of course we expect our elected representatives to set the rules rather than dumping it off on unelected bureaucrats in the Executive Branch.

The President doesn’t have to reach for excessive powers, Congress hands it to him on a damned platter.

1 comment:

bruce said...

and they whine about how bad G.W. Bush was.... haha ha he must be laughing now. Probably the only one. All good points made here.

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