A Fighting Chance – Senator Elizabeth Warren’s mantra

If Hillary Clinton chooses to run for President, she would be the odds on favorite to carry the Democratic nomination and likely the White House. The irony is, at least on domestic issues, she may not be the best female candidate from her own party. That might fall to Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts, who is the inspiration and instigation behind the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog created for the common citizen. Warren has said she won’t be running for President, but she would be a formidable candidate.

I have been a fan of hers for several years, especially after I heard her utter these apropos words when asked why she did not like Wall Street. She said, “I like Wall Street, I just don’t like cheating.” As an attorney and professor at Harvard, she has been a subject matter expert on bankruptcy in the US. This helped formulate much of her fighting spirit against cheating or rigging the system against those in need. When even bankruptcy judges incorrectly noted why people were becoming bankrupt, she did her own research and noted they tended to be people who worked hard, tried to start businesses or got overextended and had no recourse. She also noted banks made money preying off people who were on their way to trouble and did not want to stop that gravy train. The banks actually fueled the fire by offering more credit or consolidated credit when the person should have torn up their credit cards.

I just completed her latest book called “A Fighting Chance” which is an excellent read about her journey and fighting for people. She truly is the champion for the common person. And, yet if you mention her name in some circles, you may get a more negative reaction than to Hillary’s name. Banks do not like her as she called them out. The banking lobby spent $1 million a DAY to lobby against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau being included in the Dodd-Frank Act. Her name was dragged through the mud and she was a target of undue criticism and innuendo. To many, the banking lobby’s zeal to prevent this bureau from succeeding is prima facie evidence that it is needed.

Banking used to be one of the more honorable professions, but the leaders of the industry threw that out the window by taking advantage of its customers, especially those who could ill-afford it and did not ask enough questions trusting the people in suits. There is a study of a few years ago called “Class Matters” whose principal finding is economic class matters in people’s decision-making. The lesser the class, the fewer questions are asked of service providers. These folks do not have the education or confidence to ask questions to explain what something meant. So, they would not fully understand that a variable mortgage could increase their interest rate by 200 basis points and would sign on the dotted line.

I would encourage you to not only read her book, but check out what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is all about at http://www.consumerfinance.gov/.  The purpose of this agency to protect consumers when banks, pay-day lenders and mortgage lenders are aggressively and fraudulently marketing their products. They have fined lenders close to $4 Billion for selling products and services that consumers did not ask for, aggressive marketing or even malfeasance. Over 90% of the monies collected go back to the impacted consumers, with the remaining amount going to fund better education and tools for borrowers and consumers. As an example, Bank of America was fined earlier this year for over $750 million for selling additive services to credit card holders that they did not ask for.

It will be arguable that when the Obama administration is viewed retrospectively, the creation of this agency will be one of his shining moments. He owes it to Elizabeth Warren. She gave and continues to give people of all persuasions a fighting chance. And, if you hear someone denigrate her name, that should be a lightning rod that shows which side that person’s bread is buttered or that person is getting their information from a source which caters to people who do not need her help. Reading this book shows how an industry and their spokespeople on the Hill tried to mow her down along with the agency. The rest of us need an advocate like Warren in our corner, now more than ever. But, don’t take my word for it, check out the book and the website link above, and draw your own conclusions.

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9 thoughts on “A Fighting Chance – Senator Elizabeth Warren’s mantra

  1. With the passage of time, it is becoming increasingly clear that Hillary is far more right than we are led to believe, and is certainly deeply beholden to the corporate interests, at the expense of average Americans. Her recent comments on Snowden, and how he should just come back and face a fair trial show how connected she really is to the status quo.

    Obama’s biggest shame in this arena, and our most luckiest moment, was when he refused to appoint Warren the head of the Consumers Bureau. It proved his weakness and lack of courage, and improved Her standing, and her ultimate effectiveness has been as an independent Senator.

    2016 is still a long way off, and there is a lot more Clinton fatigue that is going to settle into voters minds. Many will disagree, but I see little difference between Bill and Hillary, and their need to test the winds to determine what they will believe in that particular day. Hillary has long played fast and loose with the truth, as shown by her 2008 campaign. No reason to believe she will change, now.

    I’ve never been an advocate for Clinton, and have long supported a Warren movement. Give it time, she may surprise us yet.

    Very nicely done.

    • Thanks Barney. In reading the book, I came to learn how she detested the process of running for office and how her family was brought into it by the opposition. Scott Brown, who has now moved to New Hampshire, kept bringing up her past heritage saying she could not claim to have Native American ancestry, even though her mother was born in the tribal areas of Oklahoma. She never advertised that heritage, but Harvard had shown its diversity by including her in that category, which Brown tried to exploit. I would love to see her try as the more you argue against her, the real truth comes out and that will unnerve the hell out of those who like the system rigged in their favor.

      Obama could not get her appointed as the artillery was lined against her, but he did not even try. She is very complimentary of Barney Frank for his astuteness and willingness to listen. She was able to convince him to keep the CFPB in the Dodd-Frank bill by telling him her grandmother remembered FDR as the guy who made it safe for us to put our money back in the banks (oh and he did other stuff, too). Her point was the average citizen needs to trust the financial system and gets lost in the machinations of CDOs and derivatives. That is why the CFPB is needed. He concurred.

      • Here’s a thought: We need effective leaders and people who can get things done. No question Warren is incredibly effective in the Senate, and uses that pulpit to good use across all borders. Perhaps we need her more to stay there, and get a president who can schmooze when needed, but has the strength to strong arm when needed, and has a team of absolutely cut-throat advisers that get the job done and take no prisoners. My thinking is the presidency is really nothing more than a figurehead. This could work!

      • Barney, that may be the better path forward given her reluctance to run. I hope she stays involved. Her book is a quick read. You will get a chuckle out of some of the attacks on her from certain folks known to provoke without facts. All the best, BTG

  2. Well, no one can be the best in all the special needs of the President of the US. But we can only hope that the President surrounds him or herself with the best possible people in the respective fields. Elizabeth Warren would make a fabulous cabinet member and her wisdom and talents might best be exploited from that position.

    I’m not a devoted Hillary fan, but if she rises to the top and want this god-awful position, I will surely support her.

    • Linda, she is a self professed geek who knows her subject matter, fights for folks who need help, and debates and influences. She is not your customary politician as a result. That is why I like her. She needs a place at the table no matter who sets it. Thanks, BTG

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