Linda Loftin

Will Elizabeth’s man pop the question?

In Uncategorized on July 7, 2011 at 4:47 pm

Elizabeth Warren is patiently waiting for her man to ask the important question. But the difference between her and other hopeful ladies is that the American consumer is also wondering if the proposal will be forthcoming. The important question in this case is “will you lead the Consumer Financial Protection Board” (CFPB) and the man who should be asking is President Obama. Like a boyfriend who is fearful of parental objections, Obama seems to be sitting this one out instead of manning up and doing the right thing.
Ms. Warren developed the idea to form an agency whose sole purpose would be to provide consumer protection for those of us treading water in the sea of financial sharks. She has done an admirable job in forming the agency and hiring staff. What should be happening now is for her to be named the director of the agency. The financial giants that run big banks and Wall Street firms don’t like the idea of having consumer protections in place. So they are fighting the idea with all their clout and they have plenty of clout. They finance political campaigns, mainly of Republicans, and their lobbyists have many lawmakers firmly in their pockets. The financial sharpies want the public to think that the CFPB is an enemy of the free market and they think that if they say this long and loudly enough, we will believe it. But I don’t believe it and neither should you. Are lifeguards the enemy of the swimmer or is it the hungry shark who sees a juicy leg and rushes in to have a bite?
I like the protections that are in place to insure safe food, safe items for infants, and safe automobiles. Why would we want to accept less when it comes to financial protection? Big financial institutions are so terrified that we might get the protections we deserve that they have influenced 44 Republicans to write a letter to the White House to state that they would not approve the appointment of any nominee from any party to this position unless the power of the position was essentially gutted by being seriously defunded. Furthermore, they do not want the agency to be headed by Ms. Warren, the friend of the consumer who is not bought and paid for by any lobbyist. Instead they want the agency to have five commissioners, rather than one director. Presumably, the senate would get to decide which of their friends would be appointed; friends who will be very friendly to financial institutions, and water down the power of the agency to such an extent that it will be useless.
Why are the big banks and Wall Street decision makers so scared of the possibility that consumers will have some protections? Profits, of course, are the bottom line. The agency wants to do away with the tricks and traps that have long ensnared the consumer and which led to the economic crisis we are still enduring. The CFPB wants to make financial paperwork more comprehensible and less filled with legal jargon. It wants to make the financial risks we undertake to be more obvious. It wants to cut back on the fine print and make for great transparency. It wants to make it easy for us to directly compare one credit card or mortgage or loan product with another so we can make the best financial decision. The CFPB will also be a place that will gather consumer complaints, much as the Product Safety Commission collects complaints on faulty cribs and toasters. Small community banks and credit unions like this idea, but those enormous “too big to fail’ institutions are quivering in their shoes. Does this sound like a horror movie to you, or like a sensible idea that should have been in place ages ago?
Elizabeth has been called a “dedicated advocate of the American people in a town basically controlled by money and special interests.” For months Mr. Obama has said nothing about nominating Elizabeth Warren as the director of the CFPB. He appears unwilling for do battle with the senate. It was felt that he would just appoint her when congress was in recess this July. Those who wield the real power though are so frightened of an actual financial consumer advocate who is not beholden to Wall Street and who wants to put an end to abusive lending practices that they have convinced their congressmen not go on recess this season. Instead, congress will officially stay in session, even though many members will return home anyway. Financial transparency is so feared that over a year ago, by March, 2010, the financial industry had already spent one million dollars on lobbyists for each member of congress. We know who is beholden to whom.
The agency is scheduled to officially open this month, on July 21. Will Mr. Obama pop the question or will he retreat in the face of congressional bullies who see financial reform as an opponent to be destroyed? For more information about the CFPB you can take a look at their website.

  1. Great Blog! I thought he had already nominated her for this position. I can see why the Republicans would not want her since they are in the pocket of big business. But why is Obama hesitating. I know that the Republicans are proposing to defund this organization as part of the deficit cuts.

  2. Love it. Witty, insightful, thought-provoking. The Stephen Colbert equivalent with pen – keyboard rather. I will wait with baited breath for the proposal – and ceremony as grand as William and Kate’s.

  3. I could not believe my eyes when I read your article in the Tri County Record – “Michele Bachmann: Let them eat lead?” Finally a voice of reason in this conservative waste land. I also read your piece, on line, about the Republican ‘debate” and I agree with your analysis.
    I watched most of the ‘debate” and I liked some of things that Ron Paul said, but then he would go off the deep end or wimp out.
    It used to be, that if something was labeled as “anti-communist”; then you could do any number of horrible things and it was OK.
    Now the new refrain is “job killer”. So anything that gets that label is automatically bad. No need to think about the position; if it is a job killer, it is bad.
    Please keep writing and telling us your opinion. Even if I don’t completely agree you and so far I have; your positions are well reasoned and carefully laid out.
    I am looking forward to hearing more you.

    Edward Hackett

    • Edward,
      Thanks for your comments. It is so exciting to find out someone has read one of the pieces and has responsed, and even better when the response is positive and encouraging. You sure are correct about the “job killer” designation being in the same category as “communist” used to be. I was pretty surprised myself when the TCR editor said that he wanted to publish the Bachmann piece. I was grinning from ear to ear when he told me it would take the place of George Will’s usual column that week! Hope to hear from you again when I get the next post developed.

  4. Linda, great blog neighbor! – Jan Heinis

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