Sunday, April 19, 2009

Bank Lobbyists and Apologists: Step the Hell Off Warren

Elizabeth Warren is an honest reformer with the expertise needed to see us out of the financial crises started by the unregulated greed of the banking industry.

Big surprise, the banking industry's paid shills are in a proper tizzy:
While the bubbly and brilliant 69-year-old professor is a darling of Democrats, Warren has become the scourge of conservative Republicans, who question her panel’s exploration of more-liberal approaches such as nationalization and bank liquidation.

Financial services lobbyists, who’ve long disliked Warren for highlighting predatory lending and abusive credit card fees, argue that she’s using her post to push her own, anti-industry agenda.

“A number of people wonder if this is the new Warren commission or the congressional oversight panel,” said Wayne Abernathy, executive director for financial institutions policy at the American Bankers Association. “It’s looking more like the former than the latter.”
They better step the hell off. Do these fuckers honestly think we are going to take their word over Warren's? She's the definition of a political outsider:
Warren, who proudly calls herself an “outsider’s outsider,” is comfortable announcing those kinds of very uncomfortable figures, even if that means taking some political punches.

“I’ve never held a government job, and I’m not looking for a government job after this,” she said. “I’m not out there trying to go and find my next landing spot.”
While they represent the epitome of corruption, greed, and insiders consolidating power and wealth in the hands of the few at the expense of all. Republicans and Clinton-style new-Democrats de-regulated like bunnies, and the banks stepped in with irresponsible levels of greed and fiscal blindness. And now we have the current financial crises.

Their criticism fails to distract from either their culpability or their continued obstruction in the face of successful reform:
Since then, Democrats have jumped on an idea that Warren first proposed two years ago, introducing legislation that would create a Financial Product Safety Commission charged with overseeing new consumer lending and investment products. Warren argues that a commission modeled after the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which oversees the security of toys and small appliances, would have kept the subprime mortgages that sparked the current recession off the market in the first place.

“It is impossible to buy a toaster that has a one-in-five chance of bursting into flames and burning down your house,” Warren wrote in Harvard Magazine last May. “But it is possible to refinance your home with a mortgage that has the same one-in-five chance of putting your family out on the street — and the mortgage won’t even carry a disclosure of that fact.”

President Obama backed the proposal on “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno” last month, using the toaster analogy to explain the idea.

The commission idea is opposed by conservatives and financial services firms, who argue it would prohibit innovation and impose unnecessary additional regulations on financial services companies.

“We wouldn’t be able to invest in anything the commission didn’t decide was absolutely safe for us,” said Peter Wallison, co-director of the American Enterprise Institute’s program on financial policy studies. “There wouldn’t be any innovation and there wouldn’t be any new ideas.”
Because in Wallison's view, innovation only comes with predatory financial products.

Warren's proposal is a solid one. Her criticism of the crisis and the bailout is central to keeping the process and its result viable. We need to do more than fix the crisis. We need to take steps to prevent it from happening again. Otherwise we are condemning Americans 10-15 years down the line to go through the same meltdown we are currently enjoying.

In this context listening to banking lobbyists and de-regulation cheerleaders makes all the sense of listening to the medical advice of a drug addict with a needle already in his arm. We need a doctor, and in Dr Elizabeth Warren we have one.

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