Obama Won’t Appoint Elizabeth Warren Why?

We Already Have Appointed a Woman, What More Do You Want?

Professor Elizabeth Warren

I have to admit truth to truth, Elizabeth Warren would set the consumer raping industry [banks] on its ear, were she appointed as Chair of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, IF AND ONLY IF, she actually had any power in the position.  As it stands now, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is under the thumb of the Federal Reserve, which is like putting the fox in charge of the chickens.  Give it 6 months and there will be no Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to speak of.  It’s already starting to happen as we speak.

Enter Robert Gibbs, White House spokesman, on Elizabeth Warren’s potential to be a candidate: “I don’t think any criticism, in any way, by anybody would disqualify her.”  Yet Obama has not nominated her at all.  Gee I wonder why this is?  Could it be the very people, whom he stole money from taxpayers, to bail out, would have a cow?  The powers that be are showing their muscle by Obama not appointing Elizabeth Warren to the position. 

According to the National Journal, the banking industry “privately grumbles that Warren would be their least favorite candidate to head the agency.” Or, as Floyd Norris put it in the New York Times, “whether or not she is named to run the bureau may depend on how willing the president is to anger the banks.”

Warren is one of the best people for the position. Picking her is a no-brainer. Rarely does a president have the opportunity for such a plethora of best people for the job, when it comes to appointing someone to a position.  This position, at this time, being filled by Elizabeth Warren is one of those rare opportunities.  Change huh?

Not only is she one of the country’s foremost experts on bankruptcy law and the multiple ways in which banks trick and trap consumers, she’s been the leading advocate for the creation of the agency, which the banking industry worked night and day to kill. In fact, it was Warren who came up with the idea for the agency in the first place, in a paper she wrote in 2007.

Senators and Congressmen alike are lining up to laud Warren as the best possible choice:

  • Sen. Al Franken: “In my consideration, I think Elizabeth would be the best.”
  • Rep. Barney Frank (chair of the House committee that drafted the financial reform bill): “She’s far and away the best candidate.”
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: “No one in our nation could do a better job.”
  • Rep. Rosa DeLauro: “In my living room with many members of congress, she predicted what was going to happen several years ago. As she put it in 2007, consumers cannot buy a toaster that has a one in five chance of bursting into flames but they can enter into a mortgage that has the same one in five chance of putting them out onto the street…Professor Warren we cannot, Ma’am, do it without you.”
  • Sen. Jeff Merkley: “I support Elizabeth Warren…She has both the clarity of the need for an agency that has as its top mission protecting citizens against tricks, traps and scams, and she has the ability to articulate that vision. She has the leadership skills and the knowledge of the financial world. She has the full set of requirements to be an effective leader.”
  • Sen. Tom Udall: “Should [the president] decide to nominate her to lead the Bureau, it will be a clear sign that the Bureau will be a champion for the American consumer, will stand up to unscrupulous actors and will not shrink from…fulfilling its mission under pressure.”

Secretary Tim Geithner:

She is an enormously effective advocate for reform. Probably the most effective advocate for consumer protection in the country. She has huge credibility and she played a decisive role in helping make the public case for reform and she was early on this, way ahead of everybody else. – Sunday on ABC’s This Week

If you know about Goldman Sachs Geithner  you know why he has stopped short of endorsing Warren (and, indeed, privately argued against her)?

Critics like Senetor Chris Dodd told NPR’s Diane Rehm:

“The question is, ‘is she confirmable?’ And there’s a serious question about it.” And today he challenged Robert Gibbs’ assertion that Warren is “very confirmable”: “How does he know that?”

With mid-term elections on our doorstep, it’s rather easy to be bold:

“Are the Republicans, when we bring her name up, going to argue that she shouldn’t be confirmed because she’s too tough on the big banks and too tough on the financial industry?” asked Senetor Tom Harkin. “Boy, that’ll get them a lot of votes in November!”

Unfortunately there is a provision in the financial reform bill the president signed into law last week that allows the Treasury Secretary to name someone to head the Consumer Bureau until the Senate confirms a presidential nominee.  There is no way Goldman Sachs Geithner will appoint Warren in the interim.

“The statute gives the Treasury Secretary the obligation to get it done, but doesn’t tell him how to get it done,” says Gail Hillebrand of the Consumers Union. “Consumers have been waiting a long time. The sooner we can get it off the ground the better.”

Media outlets would have you think this is a Republican Democrat thing, however if you’ve been paying attention to this blog, you know it isn’t.  The democrats are no more beholden to the banks than the Republicans are.  They are all bought and paid for.

Elizabeth Warren vs Tim Geithner

Opposition marketing spin currently being test-marketed is that because Warren is such a zealous advocate for consumers she would somehow be bad for “innovation.” The same innovation that brought us credit default swaps, teaser rates, 600 percent payday loan rates, and that led to widespread foreclosures and bankruptcies. This line of reasoning is akin to saying that we don’t want our police force to be very vigilant, lest it diminish criminal innovation. Warren herself addressed this ludicrous claim in a paper in 2008:

Innovation in financial products has produced incomprehensible terms and sharp practices that have left families at the mercy of those who write the contracts.  This is exactly why the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was created in the first place. If someone with Warren’s skill set and perspective isn’t named to head it, why even bother creating it? Just so another banking industry shill has a place to cool his heels before adding a few zeros to his salary when he quits and joins the companies he was ostensibly regulating? Given that this is the usual M.O. of how regulatory agencies in Washington work, it’s all the more important to name Warren so she can start the Consumer Bureau off on the right foot — as a true voice for the people.

So which way will Obama go? If he makes his decision on the merits, Elizabeth Warren will be the first head of the Consumer Bureau. If he makes his decision out of fear, she won’t be. For guidance, he should listen carefully to his own words:

All too often — our government made decisions based upon fear rather than foresight, and all too often trimmed facts and evidence to fit ideological predispositions. Instead of strategically applying our power and our principles, we too often set those principles aside as luxuries that we could no longer afford. And in this season of fear, too many of us — Democrats and Republicans; politicians, journalists and citizens — fell silent… if we continue to make decisions from within a climate of fear, we will make more mistakes.

That was Barack Obama in May of last year, talking about the Bush administration’s approach to national security in the wake of 9/11. As he finds himself in a different kind of “season of fear,” will he use his insights as a guide to his decision?

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