Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency - Will Warren Get her Commission?

I can't believe it's been almost a month since I posted anything. Blame the lull on the little puppy that bites my legs whenever I sit down with the laptop. When she's not biting my legs, I know she's stalking off to pee on the floor - or worse.

Since I posted, the Consumer Financial Protection Legislation finally passed and was signed into law. President Obama, his administration, Bernie Frank, and (I hate to admit it) Chris Dodd, did a pretty good job of keeping the legislation from getting too watered down. The car dealers got an exemption for the loans they originate; but that doesn't put them out of the woods. The CFPA can put strict rules on the buyers of these contracts, and the car dealers can always be covered the next time around.

The person most responsible for the consumer protection bill was Professor Elizabeth Warren, who is currently heading the Congressional Oversight Panel on the TARP legislation. Elizabeth Warren came up though the trenches, helping real families with real legal problems. When she rose through the ranks of academia, she never lost sight of the real people with real problems. Elizabeth Warren deserves to be the first director of the Consumer Financial Protection Agency. I'm sure she has some faults (though I'm not aware of any), Lord knows that J. Edgar Hoover had his faults, but very few people would say that the FBI would have been better off without having him as its first Director.

Right now, there's talk that President Obama is under pressure not to name Warren as Director of the CFPA. She's too "controversial". IMHO, the Republicans would be foolish to stand in her way. The CFPA is set up for directors to serve a 6-year term. If nominated, Professor Warren would likely serve out her complete term. If she is not chosen as Director, then she has not ruled out running for the Senate in 2012 against Scott Brown. Since this is Teddy Kennedy's old seat, I think it is a reasonable bet that Warren could soundly defeat Brown and form a cornerstone of a new progressive coalition that will shake up big business a lot worse than the CFPA. In the alternative, Warren would be a front-runner for the next open Supreme Court seat. I don't think the Right Wing would like that too much either.

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