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Watchdog Not Lapdog Needed to Reform Wall Street, Tell Obama to Nominate Elizabeth Warren to Head Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
On July 23, President Obama signed into law a sweeping financial reform bill, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a government agency that would closely monitor Wall Street practices concerning credit and loans. Such an agency was originally proposed by Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard professor and expert on bankruptcy and credit. Warren is the most qualified and most obvious choice for head of this bureau, but she's definitely not favored by Wall Street and its sympathizers in the government.
If confirmed, Warren would protect consumers from further economic meltdowns caused by shady loans and credit. She would also demand accountability and consumer-friendly practices from Wall Street banks. But she's not part of the old boys club, so NOW asks: Could sexism be at work in denying her this position?
Write President Obama today and tell him that the people of the United States want a head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau who will promote the interests of consumers, not the interests of big banks. Tell him we want Elizabeth Warren!
In 2007, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard Law professor, wrote an article in Democracy: A Journal of Ideas that proposed the creation of a government agency to protect consumers from duplicitous credit practices, much the same way that consumers are protected from faulty or dangerous products. Three years later, the government has taken Warren's advice and created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as part of the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, passed on July 23.
The bureau would have the power to oversee, analyze, and regulate credit and loans, including credit cards and mortgages. It would protect consumers from any abusive banking practices and would also be able to monitor Wall Street to prevent another economic meltdown. Overall, the purpose of the bureau is consumer protection, and it needs a head who will be on the side of everyday people, not the rich and superrich.
Elizabeth Warren is more than qualified to head this bureau. She is an expert on bankruptcy, a distinguished researcher and the chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel, which monitored the Wall Street bailouts. Her background, experience, and commitment to the welfare of consumers make her the most obvious choice for head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
However, those on Wall Street and government officials who support them do not want Warren to head the bureau, as they know that she would boldly stand up for consumers and crack down on the underhanded practices of big banks. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has voiced objections to Warren, and though he's since described her as "an enormously effective leader," he still has not said that he would recommend her nomination.
Some of the president's top financial advisors, like Larry Summers, have expressed biased and blatantly sexist views about women's abilities. In 2005, Summers said, concerning women's aptitude for science and math, "It does appear that on many, many different human attributes--overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability--there is relatively clear evidence that …there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population." Essentially, he claimed that men are innately inclined to be better at math and science than women. Let's hope that Obama doesn't listen to Summers on this decision!
The consumers of the U.S. need a strong watchdog like Elizabeth Warren to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, not a Wall Street lapdog.