The New York Times Magazine is out with an extremely deep dive by Nicholas Confessore into former Freedom Caucus maniac Mick Mulvaney’s rise to become the guy running the White House, and how the destruction of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was a key stop on that path. It’s the story of Mulvaney’s obsession to “shift the balance of power between the politically influential industries that lend money and the hundreds of millions of Americans who borrow it.”
Mulvaney had a quick rise through South Carolina’s Republican Party before becoming a member of the maniac congressional class of 2014. Much of that rise could be attributed to his recognition of the power of the payday lending industry in that state, where payday lenders “dole out more campaign money than traditional banks do, most of it to committees controlled by the Legislature’s powerful Republican leaders.” He got in with them, and the rest is depressing history, including how he’s essentially gutted the CFPB when it comes to standing up for regular Americans against the most egregious of financial institutions—the payday lenders.
Much of the story boils down to this: “While Trump ran as a populist, promising to tear down a ‘rigged system’—language that echoed [CFPB architect Elizabeth] Warren’s own rhetoric—his anti-Wall Street rhetoric fused with a pro-Wall Street platform.” Who better, then, to fulfill Trump’s promise to Wall Street than faux-populist Mulvaney? Mulvaney’s close aide, Emma Doyle, said he supports payday lenders because of all the low-income constituents he heard from who have to use them as a lifeline. Because “Not everybody ends up in a debt trap. Not everyone ends up saying, ‘I wish I hadn’t taken this out’ or ‘I wish it hadn’t been available to me.'” Thank god the usurers were there to exploit them! It meant the state’s Republican lawmakers didn’t have to worry about policies to provide a living wage to keep people out of poverty.
There hasn’t been a more telling moment in modern American politics than the Republican Party hellbent on protecting Wall Street from having to play fair with Main Street. Republicans have taken direct aim at the CFPB—the agency intended solely for consumer financial protection. Not just Republicans, but the Tea Party and the Freedom Caucus, which purported to be a populist uprising against big government. It’s never been about standing up for the people against a brutish government. It’s been about stealing everything that’s not nailed down for the superrich, including the paychecks of working stiffs.