Sunday, July 25, 2010

My hero, Elizabeth Warren

The financial reform bill that was signed into law this week provides for the creation of a consumer protection agency. The consumer advocate who foresaw the need for such an agency and who wrote an article proposing it in 2007 was Elizabeth Warren. Since that time she has campaigned indefatigably for her idea. Her common sense and empathetic approach to the needs of consumers has made her the go-to person for television news shows that have bothered to cover this aspect of the financial meltdown. Thus, her face has become very familiar to viewers who have watched any of these shows over the last couple of years.

Now that the bill has become law and her brainchild is on the verge of becoming reality, the time has come to choose someone to lead the new agency and many of us can conceive of no one else other than Warren filling that role. The problem is that she would need to be confirmed by the Senate which, in the current practice of that body, would mean 60 votes, and it is unlikely that she could get them.

The reason for this is quite simple: Warren is a champion of the consumer; she is not a friend of corporations. The Senate, on the other hand, is largely in the pocket of corporations. That is, all of the Republicans in the Senate and an appalling number of Democrats are bought and paid for by corporations. They are there to serve their masters and look out for their interests. They are not interested in protecting consumers.

But another thing about the Senate: It is often in recess, especially in an election year, and the President has the power to make appointments during those recesses that can bypass the need for Senate approval. The President should find his backbone and stand up and make that appointment. We consumers need Elizabeth Warren, my hero.

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