Acting Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Mick Mulvaney is working diligently these days to gut the agency he now heads. But Mulvaney isn’t seeing that same diligence from the financial industry movers and shakers he’s endeavoring so hard to shield. Last week, at a financial industry conference in Washington, D.C., Mulvaney told 1,300 bankers to step up and open their wallets. Noted the former lawmaker: “We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.” Bankers who buy access, Mulvaney essentially pronounced, are engaging in one of the “fundamental underpinnings of our representative democracy.” Or at least representative democracy as defined by Mulvaney, whose $7-million personal fortune sits him comfortably within America’s top 1 percent.
Thus is democracy shamelesly subverted, with the support, apparently, of half the country. Where is the outrage? How can these corrupt people live with themseves? The only positive thing one can say about these crooks is that at least they are open about their corruption. Mulvaney would probably point out that one of the most disastrous and undemocratic Supreme Court decisions of all time – the so-called Citizens United decision – gave the stamp of approval to the purchase of Congressional favors and seats by people with the most money. “Conservatives” would no doubt take me to task for introducing party politics into an Epicurean blog – well, they would, wouldn’t they? They have clear consciences, it seems, and cannot understand that seeing cemocracy and the Constitution subverted so outrageously is deeply disturbing to the rest of us.