OTWhy I Support Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB.pdf

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					                           OT:Why I Support Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB

OT:Why I Support Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB


      • From: VicXnews <news@xxxxxxxx>
      • Date: Tue, 7 Jun 2011 16:44:03 +0000 (UTC)

Why I Support Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB


When I was young, in the ?60s, I rarely lacked for great causes to
support. Today, it often feels that I spend most of my time pushing back
against ideas and policies infected by passionate zeal and stunning,
ahistoric illogic. Now comes an opportunity to act for, not against.

I?ve been watching the current struggle in and out of Congress to
preserve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a national
commitment to restoring a strong middle class with a financial system
that is robust but accountable and transparent. The fight, of course,
also involves the gifted Elizabeth Warren. Imagine, we could let a woman
of great intelligence, vision, wit, warmth and common sense run the
institution she first proposed and then helped create. And oh yes, she
actually knows the field ? as a Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard,
she?s written many scholarly articles and texts on commercial
transactions and debtor creditor issues. But she is no stuffed shirt.
She?s published two popular books, including the ?Two Income Trap: Why
Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke.?

In this climate, perhaps it?s not so weird that the House (and too many
members of the Senate) want to gut the agency and prevent Obama from
naming Elizabeth Warren as its first director. Not weird maybe, just
sadly emblematic of the trouble we?re in. ?To sin by silence when they
should protest makes cowards of men.,? Lincoln wrote. So, I am signing
every bloody petition I can find supporting the agency and Warren,
including urging the President to make an interim appointment. Interim
appointments may be disfavored, but they are legal. I don?t care if those
who threaten to veto any regular nominee gloat over ?abuse? of process by
the man they love to hate. What matters is that Obama?s naming of Warren
means someone who can do a great job gets to do that job.

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I doubt I need to make an argument to fellow progressives about the
urgency of seizing one of our last opportunities to use these troubled

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                          OT:Why I Support Elizabeth Warren and the CFPB
economic times to get at our true cause. To simplify, government?s
retreat from principled and thoughtful regulation licensed investment
banks, credit agencies, insurance companies, and Wall Street gurus to put
greed above reason. We permitted them to persuade ordinary citizens (and
pension funds and homeowners) that securitized instruments, of similar
efficacy to carney−sold patent medicines, were worth buying. We also
allowed them to sell the idea that wishing could repeal the law that what
goes up must come down.

Nobody is entirely innocent; money?s promise is for most of us a siren?s
call. And, as a nation, we?ve willfully scanted education in civic and
financial literacy in schools at all levels. So guilt is not worth
focusing on. We need instead a future practice of clear rules and tough
oversight. And we need to remind ourselves that Adam Smith?s concept of
an invisible hand did not contemplate that hand?s picking the pockets of
the people whose individual decisions and actions, if the market works
perfectly, let supply match demand.

Well, enough lecturing. The MAIN POINT: If you want PT Barnum (and Gordon
Gekko) to define our national ethos, help cripple the agency and run
Elizabeth Warren off. If you prefer Lincoln?s vision of what we can be,
then there can be no doubt that Elizabeth Warren and the Consumer
Financial Protection Bureau deserve our support.

Karen S. Burstein is an attorney in New York, a former NY State
Commissioner, State Senator, City Auditor General and Family Court Judge.


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