Donald Trump’s Cabinet appointments seem to be based on each candidate’s ineptitude. Rick Perry, head of the Department of Energy, forgot the department existed in his disastrous bid for president. (Click) Scott Pruitt, assigned to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) is on record as an advocate against the EPA’s activist agenda.” (Click) Betsy DeVos, Secretary of Education, embarrassed herself with her alarming ignorance about public education during her Congressional interviews. (Click)
The salt in the wound must be Mike Mulvaney’s appointment to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB) an agency he once called a “’sick’ joke.’” (“Putting the CFPB On a Trump Diet,” by Elizabeth Dexheimer, Bloomberg Businessweek, May 7, 2018, pg. 31.) It’s mission is to write and enforce rules for financial institutions, examine both bank and non-bank entities, monitor and report on markets, as well as collect and track consumer complaints. (Click) Its funding comes not from the federal government but from the Federal Reserve. The intent was to keep the watchdog agency out of politics.
The best laid plans of mice and men have failed, in this instance. Mulvaney is using tools at his disposal to destroy the agency’s effectiveness. He’s made no requests for Fed funds, claiming he has enough on hand, and proves his point by slashing his budget with a Jack the Ripper fervor. He is ordering large portions of the staff to stay at home, and those that remain are forced to share desks with their colleagues. Seventy employees have been banished to a basement. In response, the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) has warned his moves violate the workers’ contracts. (Ibid pg. 31.)
Within the White House, there is talk of eliminating the agency altogether. But that objective could pose a problem. The CFPB leases its space from the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the contract isn’t up until 2023.” (Ibid, pg. 31) The agency could continue to exist, if only on paper. Hopefully, before that happens, there will be meaningful changes at the center of government.