Regular visitors to this site will know that, even among the more wretched, overreaching regulatory agencies that Congress has created through the years, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau stands out as a particular abomination.The agency is supposed to “protect” consumers from unscrupulous financial institutions, but almost surely the effect it will have instead, once it starts writing its rules and conducting its audits, will be to make credit more expensive and harder to get for those very same consumers. Worse, the agency is essentially unaccountable to elected officials. It is funded directly from the Federal Reserve’s annual surplus, rather than appropriation from Congress. And the agency’s director can’t be fired by the president or anybody else. So Congress has created a bureaucracy that can do whatever it wants without any real oversight. As I say, an abomination: the CFPB is an affront to the idea of a democratically elected representative government.Given all this, I can’t decide whether to laugh or cry over the news the agency has already let the budget for the renovation of its Washington headquarters spiral out of control.The numbers aren’t small, either: The original renovation budget was $55 million. By last July, that had risen to $95 million. More recently, it’s ballooned to $139 million, or $316 per square foot. That is an enormous amount of money. To put it in perspective, the Treasury inspector general estimates that the outright value of the property being renovated (1700 G Street NW) is just $154 million. Local real estate experts tell the Washington Examiner that the typical cost to renovate Class A office space in Washington D.C. is $150 per square foot.The CFPB is spending more than twice that. As Rep. Jeb Hensarling commented to CFPB head Richard Cordray at a hearing in late January, you can build Trump Tower for less.Put aside, for a moment, the irony that an agency created to help people better manage their money is making a hash of its own finances. (Is there really no one at the CFPB with expertise in budgeting and project management?) More to the point, now that the CFPB has let one of its first major projects careen out of control, what can Congress do to prevent future agency fiascoes? Well, basically nothing. The agency’s head can’t be removed, remember, and its funding can’t be cut. All Congress can do is call Cordray before a few hearings and ask him a few questions. In the meantime, I suppose there’s nothing to prevent the agency from spending $500 per square foot if it wants.I’m no unbiased observer, but I don’t see how this mess can be taken as a promising start for the agency. It would appear Congress has created a regulator almost purposely designed to create mischief. This headquarters mess, I fear, is a sign of things to come.What do you think? Let me know!