- - Thursday, May 10, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Why do many Americans shake their heads in disbelief when asked about the efficiency or the accountability of our federal government? Sadly, it’s because there are so many examples of how federal government agencies or tax-funded government projects work directly against the American people.

The biggest example of government “consumer protection” gone bad is the agenda-driven, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) which operated for years as a rogue, unaccountable agency. CFPB was set up as a partisan arm of the Obama administration and shamelessly operated a “civil penalty” slush fund that sent millions to various liberal groups and to a firm that ran ads in support of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton presidential campaigns.

Reports in late 2017 revealed how the Democratic advertising firm GMMB, which ran ads touting Obama and Clinton campaigns, received tens of millions from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“The first was a huge payout to GMMB, the liberal advocacy group that created ads for the Obama and Hillary Clinton presidential campaigns, and the sole recipient of the CFPB’s $43 million advertising expenditure since 2013,” the Weekly Standard reported. Please explain how providing millions to a firm running ads hyping Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton for president is consumer protection?

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s former director, Richard Cordray, brazenly thumbed his nose at congressional Republicans who called for transparency and oversight. Fortunately the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new sheriff, acting director Mick Mulvaney, is cancelling the multimillion-dollar contract with GMMB and recommending how the CFPB should become a bipartisan commission with structure and oversight. Mr. Mulvaney is doing a fine job, but the same cannot be said about the leadership at another government run association — Ginnie Mae.

The Government National Mortgage Association (Ginnie Mae) is in dire need of real leadership and the president needs to put forth the name of an experienced administrator who can address ongoing issues such as a lack of data security, no sound management structure or accountability and a lack of ability to produce sound financial audits of its activities.

In addition, recent action taken by the Government National Mortgage Association will assuredly hurt veterans. Ginnie Mae’s new lending rules will likely force reductions of much needed VA loans and financial services for tens of thousands of veterans — especially those with poor credit. Under the guise of addressing veteran loan “churning” (high pre-payment rates on some veteran loans) Ginnie Mae’s actions will likely force some lenders to stop offering veteran loans altogether — hurting the people they supposedly serve.

Why is Ginnie Mae punishing VA lenders? Because the Government National Mortgage Association takes its cues from China and other foreign investors who don’t value veteran loans in the Ginnie Mae portfolio. Veteran loans usually get paid off quickly, due to the transient nature of the veteran community, so veteran loans in Ginnie Mae’s portfolio are less attractive to Chinese investors. Ginnie Mae’s executive VP, Michael Bright, is apparently more concerned about comforting Chinese investors than he is about backing loans for our veterans.

Texas Capital — the largest warehouse bank in the country — could exit VA lending entirely. Bank of America now shows steep declines in VA loan financing. As more banks and lenders exit the VA loan sector, our veterans suffer. Many will have few financing options other than high-interest credit cards. It’s clear we need more experienced leadership at Ginnie Mae for the remainder of the Trump term.

American innovation and patent reform is a third example of government blatantly ignoring the people’s interests via the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB). PTAB was created with the goal of expediting patent reviews and limiting unfounded litigation. Great idea except the Patent Trial and Appeal Board has morphed into an agency run amok. Instead of serving patent applicants in a spirit of fostering innovation and business growth, PTAB created a “patent death squad” which simply harasses patent owners with endless challenges to their inventions.

Invalidation rates at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board have soared to between 79 percent to 100 percent. What was supposed to be a streamlined patent review process has become an inquisition-like tribunal. Entrepreneurs who spend years developing ideas and using their own funds to patent their inventions, now have to defend themselves in court and before the PTAB.

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board has actually elevated its authority above the courts so if even if you win in the courtroom, you may still have to defend that same patent before a ridiculous PTAB panel. The Patent Trial and Appeal Board is completely stacked against patent holders and ignores the standards and protections afforded by the judicial branch of our government.

It’s no wonder the American people are calling for government reform on so many levels. Faceless bureaucrats who run rogue, tax-funded agencies, boards or associations need to be called out and forced to properly serve the people who pay their salaries or get booted from public service.

Printus LeBlanc, a policy analyst for Americans for Limited Government, also served in the U.S. Marine Corps.


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