Saturday, March 19, 2011

Embracing Elizabeth Warren

My apologies for being away the last couple of days. Too busy. Today, Joe Nocera in his Talking Business column writes about Elizabeth Warren, the leader of the team to organize the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a possible appointee for the position of Director. She is a Harvard lawyer and well known to be a relentless critic of Big Banks who use their power to gouge financial customers. She has tried repeatedly to root out questionable practices that put customers at a distinct disadvantage vis a vis the Big Banks and to push for protections from the Banks' most manipulative and hurtful practices. Mr. Nocera reports that Elizabeth Warren has become one of the few people in all of Washington whom financial customers can trust to keep their best interests in mind. According to the Big Banks and the Congress's Republican leadership, she is one dangerous woman. Watch out!

Why so dangerous? Because she is ganging up on the Big Banks by making sure they treat their customers fairly, equitably and transparently. Nocera says, "there isn't anybody in Washington more fearless about standing up to the Big Banks." And Ms. Warren herself says that the mortgage services associated with the Big Banks have become a "national scandal." The Republicans hate Ms. Warren because...well, because the Big Banks do. If you want unemployment to come down and the economy to improve, you gotta lay off those Big Banks. Ms. Warren, can't you see that? If President Obama tries to appoint her to the directorship of this Bureau, the Republicans will oppose it with all their might. Customers don't need protection, Big Banks do.

Joe Nocera says that the reason to appoint Warren is to help the millions of Americans trying to hold on to their homes. But who says that's the main work of Congress. The main work of Congress has clearly become to do everything possible to give the Big Banks all the flexibility they need to do all the gouging they want. And if you don't like it, you can do business with some other bank that doesn't countenance gouging...if you can find one.

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