Before this year, Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) was known best as a birther who once interrupted a session of Congress by screaming “baby killer.” After Republicans swept Congress, Neugebauer gained a top spot on the Financial Services Committee and is now working to dismantle foreclosure relief efforts, repeal Wall Street reforms passed last year, and empower the banks to ignore new rules governing consumer protection.
On an Internet radio program earlier this week, Neugebauer explained that his crusade to help Wall Street avoid complying with new regulations is actually a struggle for “democracy.” The congressman called new bank regulators charged with enforcing Dodd-Frank laws “little dictatorships” that are not the “type of thing a democracy ought to have”:
NEUGEBAUER: But the way it is right now, these agencies basically, the two bureaus I just mentioned [the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of Financial Research] are little dictatorships. You appoint this person, they dictate what they can do to you, what they can charge for it, and if you don’t like the answer there’s not much appeal process to it. We don’t think that’s the type of thing a democracy ought to have.
The bank regulators Neugebauer references are charged with developing transparency in financial markets and policing predatory loans (in the mortgage markets, credit card industry, and payday loans, among others). When he says “they dictate what they can do to you,” the “you” in that sentence is a bank or financial conglomerate like Goldman Sachs. With that in mind, when Neugebauer complains that Dodd-Frank is a violation of “democracy” — apparently his version of democracy is composed of banks with rights equal to that of citizens.
In addition to defunding bank regulators, legislators like Neugebauer have worked to undermine Dodd-Frank by creating boards that can easily override any new rule created to rein in bank abuses. This back door attack on Dodd-Frank is tantamount to a repeal, because it will ensure that banks will never have to change their behavior if new rules can’t be implemented.