Under the righteous-sounding banner of â€œconsumer protection,â€ President Barack Obama has thought of yet another way to expand the size of the federal government. Yesterday he asked Congress to create a new Consumer Financial Protection Agency to oversee and regulate the fine print on consumer products like credit cards and mortgages. This agency, and not the credit card companies or lending institutions, will be authorized to determine what fees, penalties and interest rates are â€œfairâ€ to charge.
As Americans struggle to survive the current economic windstorm, which was caused largely by the governmentâ€™s forcible meddling in the mortgage-lending and housing industries, they must now weather the indignity of their President telling them that yet another dose of government meddling is what they need toÂ put them on the right path.
â€œThose ridiculous [mortgage and credit card] contracts with pages of fine print that no one can figure out â€” those things will be a thing of the past,â€ our Great Protector said.
Presumably, Mr. Obama didn’tÂ notice any irony in the fact that his purported call for plain talk and simplicityÂ bore neither of those attributes. You see, the draft bill outlining the new “transparency” standards did not fit on a single typewritten page; nor did it fit on 2 pages, or 5, or 10, or 20, or 50, or 100. The bill isÂ fully 152 pages long.
But this is nothing newÂ for Mr. Transparency in the Oval Office. After all, he was utterly untroubled by the 1,071-page, $787 billion â€œstimulus packageâ€ which he signed in February; the $410 billion spending bill he signed in March, a labyrinthine maze of expenditures complete with some 8,600 earmarks; and now, most recently, the 1,500-page â€œcap-and-tradeâ€ monstrosity by means of which the President will impose massive additional costs on every American household each year.
Not a shred of simplicity; nor of transparency; nor of honesty.
And the President has plenty of support in foisting upon the American people these monuments to waste, doubletalk, and deception. Among the key congressional advocates of cap-and-trade, for instance, are such luminaries as Nancy Pelosi, who never met a tax she didnâ€™t like; Charles Rangel, a corrupt political hack who is up to his eyeballs in income-tax and real-estate scandals; Barney Frank, who for years promoted the subprime mortgages that caused the housing market to collapse; and John Conyers, aÂ longtime allyÂ ofÂ ACORN (which likewise intimidated banks into making high-risk loans).