Where you live? Why? CFPB and matters of control

Choosing political bias over economic reality By Richard W. Rahn – “The debate about the tax rate cut proposal shows this same reality disconnect.”

“Why is it that those who have been right in the past are often ignored, while great attention is paid to those who have been wrong? Many “politically correct” forecasters’ words are accepted as gospel by the media despite dismal records.

The debate about climate change, the minimum wage and the proposals for tax reform illustrate why so many get it wrong.

The debate about the tax rate cut proposal shows this same reality disconnect. Minority party leaders Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer and many of their colleagues claim it is a tax cut for the rich when, in fact, almost all low- and middle-income people will receive a meaningful tax reduction. And yes, in Mrs. Pelosi’s San Francisco and Mr. Schumer’s New York, some of their fellow wealthy constituents might pay higher taxes.

The majority of economists claimed at the time that the economy could not grow nearly as fast as it did after the Reagan tax rate cuts — and they were wrong.

Most economists and even members of the media understand that high taxes on cigarettes and sugary drinks discourage consumption. Why then is it that so many seem to have such a hard time understanding (despite the empirical evidence) that lower tax rates on work, saving and investment will stimulate economic growth and grow the tax base? Why do members of the media (e.g., The New York Times editorial page) give more credence to those who failed in their past predictions than those who got it right? Is it political bias or ignorance of history that causes the reality disconnect?

Denzel Washington on black incarceration: ‘I can’t blame the system,’ ‘it starts in the home’ By Jessica Chasmar – “If the streets raise you, then the judge becomes your mother and prison becomes your home

“According to The New York Daily News, Mr. Washington expanded on his answer when pressed by reporters, saying, “It starts with how you raise your children. If a young man doesn’t have a father figure, he’ll go find a father figure.

“So, you know, I can’t blame the system,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we make such easy work for them.”

In Draining The CFPB Swamp, Trump Finds Monsters by IBD – update on English v Mulvaney at the CFPB.

“If nothing else, this shows what a monumental, perhaps even Sisyphean, job it will be for Trump to drain Washington’s fetid bureaucratic swamp. It’s not the dirty water so much as the swamp monsters that make it such a perilous task.

Those who work in the CFPB, which was created by the Obama administration in 2010 as the right arm of the financially disastrous regulatory monstrosity known as Dodd-Frank, think of themselves as having a special mission: to regulate every nuance of the U.S. consumer financial world, supposedly to “protect” consumers.

As we’ve said before, the CFPB is basically a rogue agency, with virtually no accountability to Congress or to the American people for that matter. It was designed that way. And no, this is not just a question of governance style; it’s a question of constitutionality, of the rule of law.

In its current form, the CFPB is unconstitutional, as a federal court way back in October of 2016 already ruled.

The mainstream media have largely treated this as a kind of he-said/she-said spat. It’s not. It’s quite serious. If Leandra English can declare herself head of a major U.S. agency, then the chances of truly reasserting control over the administrative state would shrink to near zero.

Why Democrats are to blame for consumer agency debacle By Lorraine Woellert – “The CFPB turmoil highlights how Democrats shunned Republican efforts to broaden its governance to a commission that would have included diverse viewpoints.”

“In truth, the bureau has been mired in controversy since its creation. Warren has built a political career railing against Wall Street. Cordray infuriated industry and inspired lawsuits. And the bureau itself is unique, investing great power in one person with almost no accountability.

It was predictable that such a toxic mix would eventually explode. Now Democrats are facing the consequences of their decision to protect the agency’s powerful independent director. Anybody Trump nominates to replace Cordray will have the ability to undo a lot of his work. On Monday, Mulvaney wasted no time, imposing a regulatory and hiring freeze.

For Democrats, there seemed to be a political strategy.

Richard Cordray Delivers the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Punchline By Ronald L. Rubin – “The CFPB’s first director cared about consumers, but he was consumed by politics.”

“Obama installed Cordray by using an unconstitutional recess appointment, Democrats threatened to change the filibuster rules, and Republicans surrendered.

Perhaps it was this two-year ordeal that turned Cordray into a cynical partisan mercenary. … By 2017, there was no denying the ugly truth. Cordray cared about consumers, but he was consumed by politics.

Warren built a political battleship, and Cordray deployed it. The bureau’s powerful media division dictated policy to its regulatory professionals and relentlessly exaggerated the agency’s achievements in daily press releases and social-media posts. Political operatives used the CFPB’s super-independence to stonewall congressional subpoenas and hide unethical investigation tactics, internal discrimination problems, and other inconvenient facts. Republican critics were dismissed as Wall Street sycophants.

Meanwhile, millions of dollars were diverted from the CFPB to Democratic allies.

Cordray’s sickening stunt left no doubt about the absurdity of claims that he and the CFPB were ever politically independent. For this, we can all give thanks.

Watchdog Finds More Evidence Obama’s EPA Broke Federal Law by Chris White – “Judicial Watch obtained 900 pages of documents Monday showing the EPA used social media to lobby support for the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule.”

“Federal law prohibits agencies from engaging in propaganda. It also forbids agencies from using federal resources to conduct grassroots campaigns that prod U.S. citizens into browbeating lawmakers to act on pending legislation.

“The Obama EPA knowingly did an end run around federal law to push another Obama environmental power grab,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a press statement Monday. “These documents show how these Obama-era bureaucrats seem to be more like social activists than public employees.”

“Credible” stories by neo-neocon – “what is with this “credible” business? I’ve seen it over and over to describe the Roy Moore allegations, as well as allegations against other figures in cases in which I don’t find the allegations especially credible although they might be true.”

“Each camp is going on “credible” evidence rather than anything even remotely approaching highly convincing evidence. Much of it is an emotional reaction to the accuser’s tale, and reflects a sort of hubris about our ability to detect a liar vs. a truthteller, based on that emotional reaction (and sometimes an over-identification based on personal experience). Almost any story about anyone can sound “credible” unless it contains obviously fanciful elements that are literally impossible. Are we all now required to believe any allegation by a woman against a man that is not impossible?

Science Moms Fight Fears with Facts by Harriet Hall – “a group of 15 women scientists, bloggers, and educators to send a letter to Paltrow, Gellar, and other celebrities asking them not to co-opt motherhood and wield their fame to oppose beneficial technologies, but to use their influence responsibly and ensure that their advocacy is supported by facts, not fear.” 

At the recent conference of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSICON) in Las Vegas, on October 28, 2017, I had the great privilege and pleasure of being in the audience for the American premiere of a new documentary, Science Moms, as well as for the following live panel discussion by the women featured in the movie. In the documentary, a group of scientists and science communicators who are also moms address misperceptions created by misinformation in the media about GMOs, vaccines, and other issues important to parents. They point out that “moms whose opinions are formed by fear and hype are so loud. But they’re the only people talking about it, the only resource people have.” With this documentary, people now have another resource based on science, a resource that is easily digestible and compelling.

The letter caught the attention of Natalie Newell, the host of “The Science Enthusiast” podcast. She contacted one of the letter’s authors. One thing led to another, and the result was this documentary.

The problem is that fears are irrational and facts aren’t. That’s two different worlds that humans seem to find difficult to move between.

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