As you may recall, we thought that making the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection a part of the decidedly consumer-unfriendly Federal Reserve was a terrible idea.
But President Obama has a chance to make at least some amends by appointing Elizabeth Warren as the bureau’s first director.
As we’ve said before, Warren has been one the smartest and most relentless consumer advocates throughout the financial crisis. She’s even written one of the best personal finance books around: All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan (Simon & Shuster, $9 at Walmart).
The new consumer protection bureau was her idea and if it’s going to work, if it’s truly going to contribute to creating a safe and sound financial system in this country, then it needs someone like her at the top.
In fact, it needs HER at the top.
So what’s the problem?
As this New York Times profile of the Harvard law school professor explains, Warren has become the scourge of Wall Street bankers.
She believes “30 years of deregulation has rewarded the financial industry but led to abusive practices and collapses that have hurt ordinary Americans — the same taxpayers who are paying for bank bailouts,” the Times says.
The financial industry’s bought-and-paid-for lawmakers, the same ones who have fought every effort to rein in Wall Street’s reckless behavior, will undoubtedly oppose her.
They’ll make all sorts of misleading claims in an attempt to frame her Senate confirmation as another partisan battle of the culture wars.
Let’s be clear. It is no such thing.
The opposition to Warren is all about greed.
It’s about a runaway financial industry that’s still willing to say and do whatever it takes to bend Washington to its will.
It’s about the banks trying to stop an outspoken critic of them and their government bailout from obtaining a position of power.