One of the most prominent U.S. political commentators has fired a salvo at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), bluntly questioning its lack of accountability and calling attention to the high salaries enjoyed by its senior officers.
In a column published in the Washington Post, George F. Will argues that the CFPB's position within the federal government is a disruption of the constitutional concept of checks-and-balances.
‘Untethered from all three branches of government, unlike anything created since 1789, the CFPB is uniquely sovereign,’ Will writes. ‘The president appoints the director for a five-year term – he can stay indefinitely, if no successor is confirmed – and the director can be removed, but not for policy reasons.’
Will further states that the CFPB's interpretation of the law, including whether financial institutions either interfere with or exploit a consumer's ability to ‘understand’ how a banking product or service works, has created upheaval in residential lending.
‘This fog of indeterminate liabilities is causing some banks to exit the consumer mortgage business,’ he writes.
Will voices his support for the ‘judicial dismantling’ of the agency via a legal challenge spearheaded by a Texas-based community bank, which has argued that the CFPB is unconstitutional.
‘Like the Independent Payment Advisory Board, Obamacare's health-care rationing panel, the CFPB embodies progressivism's authoritarianism,’ he continues. ‘Removing much policymaking from elected representatives and entrusting it to unaccountable 'experts' exercising an unfettered discretion incompatible with the rule of law.’
Will also notes that the CFPB's funding comes from the Federal Reserve rather than from congressional appropriations, which is reflected in a very generous compensation structure.
‘It has been hiring promiscuously and paying its hires lavishly,’ Will remarks. ‘As of three months ago, approximately 60 percent of its then 958 employees were making more than $100,000 a year. Five percent were making $200,000 or more. A Cabinet secretary makes $199,700.’