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King Richard

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British royal-watchers are eagerly awaiting the birth of their future queen or king, which is reportedly likely to happen sometime this week. It looks as if we beat them. The Senate voted today to confirm Richard Cordray to be director of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. In taking that step, the Senate formally entrusted him with powers that would make many a king jealous. He has free reign during his five-year term to apply, enforce, and interpret a wide body of consumer law as he sees fit. Courts are directed to defer to his interpretation. How he chooses to interpret the law will affect the daily lives of many Americans, including whether they can get a mortgage and whether they will have access to banking services. His decisions also will play a large role in determining the prospects and profitability of providers of financial products. He presides over a half billion dollar budget, without having to ask permission from Congress before he spends the money or explain in detail how he spent it. He has broad powers to demand detailed information from banks and nonbanks. Concentrating this sort of power in one person sets a bad precedent for the future.

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Isaac Gorodetski
Project Manager,
Center for Legal Policy at the
Manhattan Institute
igorodetski@manhattan-institute.org

Katherine Lazarski
Press Officer,
Manhattan Institute
klazarski@manhattan-institute.org

 

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The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.