Today’s output from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute’s state-of-the-art HEMMED (High-Energy Meta Mojo Elucidation Detector) machine is NOT a poke in the eye. But it is my chance to use the word exasperated…which is one of those words that sounds like what it means. And it is the kind of word a mother loves. (“I am so exasperated with you!”)
I am exasperated because of this lead-in to the story about Elizabeth Warren being named a special advisor to President Obama:
In a poke in the eye to the financial community, President Barack Obama on Friday named Elizabeth Warren, an aggressive consumer advocate and Wall Street adversary, to oversee creation of a new agency to regulate banks, lenders and credit-card companies.
This is not about whose eyes are getting poked or an eye for an eye or the eye of the needle that the rich man can’t fit through.
But it may be an eye into our soul.
This is about a Progressive victory that was hard fought and that was won the right way. By the persistence and dedication of one person…Professor Elizabeth Warren…and the fans she made along the way through her advocating for a very simple Progressive value: People matter more than profits.
Professor Warren was appointed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in November 2008 to head the Congressional Oversight Panel created to oversee the implementation of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act (TARP), a group tasked with making sure the money to protect banksters rear-ends was doled out in accordance with the wishes of Congress.
In case you need a reminder of why Elizabeth Warren is held in such high esteem, here she is with Jon Stewart discussing TARP in April 2009:
Here she is in January 2010 with a followup:
This is not about political paybacks and gotcha politics.
This is about one person offering clear concise explanations for the problems we are having, providing a way out and doing it with intelligence and flair.
It is about one person, dedicated to promoting the middle class and consumers and her being given a chance to put in place an agency whose purpose is to look out for the little guy. Not “pretend to look out for the little guy while taking pocketsful of cash on the side from the people you are supposed to regulate”. Really looking out for the little guy.
The particular method used to get Professor Warren appointed was somewhat unorthodox but given the need to get the agency up and running NOW because people need help NOW and the disgusting obstructionism by the Senate republicans and can’t-retire-soon-enough-to-suit-me-Bankster-“Dem” Christopher Dodd it was necessary. And obviously the authors of the bill recognized that it might be necessary because they outline the process by which she was appointed in the bill itself. Robert Kuttner on the appointment:
“This strategy is a win-win, on several grounds. It gives Warren full authority to set up the agency, without having to run the gantlet of confirmation hearings and a likely Republican filibuster […] This way, Warren will be able to get the agency quickly up and running in a manner that serves both consumers and progressive politics. Early directives to bring greater simplicity and transparency to credit documents will be extremely popular. Politically, the carping by the banking industry and its Republican allies will remind the public which side the GOP is on.”
And because this is a “feel good about the Good News” story, I am not going to bring in the negative but if you want to laugh (and cry at the same time) read Jason Linkins on “The Washington Post’s Demented Take On The Warren Appointment” (okay, okay…but just one blockquote):
They note that the agency “emerged from Warren’s zealous campaign against what she called the “tricks and traps” of the banking industry, which has made her a hero to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.” I imagine it makes just about everyone who had been tricked and trapped partial to Warren, and her idea as well. They conclude their first paragraph, thusly:
Like many such activists, however, Ms. Warren can be simplistic and hyperbolic.
To which I say, “Sayeth the editors, simplistically and hyperbolically!” because up to now, they’ve not presented any evidence that would give them the right to make such a claim.
(Read the whole column … but after you finish mine.)
Here is Elizabeth Warren from the White House Blog in her own words after President Obama appointed her:
The President asked me, and I enthusiastically agreed, to serve as an Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. He has also asked me to take on the job to get the new CFPB started—right now. The President and I are committed to the same vision on CFPB, and I am confident that I will have the tools I need to get the job done.
President Obama understands the importance of leveling the playing field again for families and creating protections that work not just for the wealthy or connected, but for every American. The new consumer bureau is based on a pretty simple idea: people ought to be able to read their credit card and mortgage contracts and know the deal. They shouldn’t learn about an unfair rule or practice only when it bites them—way too late for them to do anything about it. The new law creates a chance to put a tough cop on the beat and provide real accountability and oversight of the consumer credit market. The time for hiding tricks and traps in the fine print is over. This new bureau is based on the simple idea that if the playing field is level and families can see what’s going on, they will have better tools to make better choices.
If the CFPB can succeed at leveling the playing field, we can go a long way toward repairing a gaping hole in the budgets of millions of families. But nobody has ever thought or argued that the consumer bureau can fix everything. Lost jobs, stagnant incomes, rising costs for college, dwindling retirement savings—there’s a lot of work to be done.
When she was 16, my grandmother, Hannie Reed, drove a wagon in the Oklahoma land rush. Her mother had died, so she was up front with her little brothers and sisters bouncing around in the back. When I was growing up, she talked about life on the prairie, about marrying my grandfather and making a living building one-room schoolhouses, about getting wiped out in the Great Depression. She was hit with hard challenges throughout her life, but the moral of her stories was always the same: she would solve her problems one at a time by pulling up her socks and getting to work.
It’s time for all of us to pull up our socks and get to work.
Pardon me while I giggle like a schoolgirl at the notion of someone like this (who quotes her grandmother!) being in charge of this important federal agency.
Happy Tuesday to everyone and fist bumps!
The BPI Campus Progressive agenda:
1. People matter more than profits.
2. The earth is our home, not our trash can.
3. We need good government for both #1 and #2.
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