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Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Wall Street Journal Whiffs on Warren

Protecting Consumers From Banks

It turns out that Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren will head the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau, after all.

The Bureau, which Warren proposed creating, is charged with ensuring that "consumers are protected from unfair, deceptive, or abusive acts and practices and from discrimination."

Seeing as how millions of consumers are routinely deceived, abused, and dealt with unfairly by the nation's biggest banks, that would seem to be a good start.

So, what exactly is the Wall Street Journal up in arms about ("Elizabeth III")?

Here is their case against her, followed by my rebuttals in italics:

WSJ: [Senate leaders] have warned the White House that Warren probably isn't confirmable. A President with more political and Constitutional scruple would have nominated someone else.

Ross Kaplan: Most of the Senate's senior leaders depend on Wall Street cash to fund their election campaigns. The surprise would be if someone hostile to Wall Street's interests was confirmable.

WSJ: Ms. Warren was a vociferous opponent of allowing regulators charged with maintaining the safety and soundness of banks to control this new bureau.

Ross Kaplan: Regulators just presided over the biggest financial debacle since The Great Depression, and did nothing to stop it -- in fact, they facilitated it. Why should Warren answer to them??

WSJ: The new bureau [is] destined to be a bureaucratic rogue, inside an agency (the Fed) that it doesn't report to, with a budget not subject to Congressional control.

Ross Kaplan: And exactly who are the too-big-to-fail banks accountable to? Yes, there are "rogues" running amok and threatening the Republic . . . but it's not Warren and her tiny, new federal agency.

In truth, installing Warren by Presidential appointment instead of Senate confirmation -- what the Journal is putatively upset about -- could very well be a tactical blunder.

That's because a Senate confirmation hearing would shine a huge, public spotlight on a dysfunctional U.S. Senate, and the interests it truly serves.

1 comment:

Ned said...

This isn't anything new. Andrew Jackson left Martin Van Buran a huge financial mess due in large part to laisse faire oversight. The more that things change, the more they stay the same.