The Foxes and the Henhouse

“Foxes [are] dreaded animals. They [are] not large or fierce, like the bears and tigers that roam the mountains, but they [are] known to be fiendishly clever. Some people even believe that foxes possessed evil magic. It [is] said that a fox [can] lure a man to his doom, tricking him…”

― Linda Sue Park

We’ve all heard the expression, “Letting the fox guard the henhouse” as an expression for a disaster that could be avoided. Chickens and their eggs feed us. Foxes eat chickens. Ergo, it is stupid to let a fox guard the henhouse. Better a watchdog.

Congress could be a metaphor for a fox den. 

Congressmen/women are politicians (even so businessmen who run for even higher elected office), who are wily, trickster creatures. They more often than not promise what their constituants want to hear while running for office, only then do what they will, often to their own inclinations and betterment, once elected, leading us to our doom (or at least not where we expected, as promised) by the evil magic in their glibness.

They need a watchdog, and in the case of Congress, there is one, the Office of Congressional Ethics, who’s sole responsibiliy is to keep Congress honest and ethical. (A difficult job, I’d imagine, but – God bless them – they try.)

So, should anyone have been surprised that the U.S. House of Representatives last week introduced legislation to put that nonpartisan office under Congressional control – controlling what and whom that office investigates? Does anyone else see a conflict of interest here?

Apparently so. Enough protest was raised by the citizenry that the R’s backed off (way to go, Citizens!) 

But as good as that is, a far more important issue – one that will impact each and everyone of us even more, and is not getting the same publicity – is their declared goal of deregulating big banks, who gave us the recent “Great Recession” and who have a long track record of garnering billions in profits through malfeasance and self-interest policies. Remove what regulations there are, and sit back – the next recession may well be a real depression (bankrupting both you and me, but – hey – why will they care, they’ll have all our money that – no doubt – they’ll share with the members of Congress that allowed and enabled them to do so.)

And then, also not as heavily publicized, is their promise to shut down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that has returned some $12 billion to customers ripped off by Big Business, harmed by deceitful and questionable financial practices. (Example: The CFPB, the financial watchdog, earlier this month forced two top credit bureaus, TransUnion and Equifax, to pay fines and restitution of $23 million to consumers for misleading members and the public by providing meaningless credit scores – the scores they tell you, or provided by online companies, are not the scores lenders use when considering extending you credit, those scores are never revealed to anyone except between the credit bureaus and lenders.)

So. Where is all this leading to? We, my friends, are the “chickens” (so to speak.) And our lives – and the nation at large – is the henhouse. We may have the politicians (“foxes”) allegedly protecting us and working in our interest (so they tell us), but wiser minds have recognized the need for watchdogs to guard against the baser nature of those foxes.

If we spend too much time cackling amongst ourselves over inconsequential matters, and don’t pay attention to what the foxes are up to, we may find ourselves served up for their consumption.

– Bill

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