But there is a whole other side to Trump’s takeover of Washington: What happens to the government itself, and all it is tasked with doing, when it is placed under the command of the Chaos President? HUD has emerged as the perfect distillation of the right’s antipathy to governing. If the great radical-conservative dream was, in Grover Norquist’s famous words, to “drown government in a bathtub,” then this was what the final gasps of one department might look like.
Many of these institutions, particularly payday lenders, are notorious for preying on consumers. Some argue that it’s up to the consumer to read the fine print and figure out how these products work on their own. This sounds simple enough, but the problem is that many of these companies make their terms deliberately misleading, so the CFPB was created to provide more transparency.
Robbie Herndon, who retired from HUD in 2006 as regional fair housing director based in Kansas, saw the issue from the other side of the table. Development officials in the department, she said, “would tell recipients they didn’t have to comply with fair housing regulations — I know this because some of the recipients were bold enough to tell us.”