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Econosphere: 'Elizabeth Warren or bust'

By Dylan Matthews
econosphere.gif Elizabeth Warren is the most prominent and polarizing candidate to lead the new Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. The idea for an independent federal agency to protect ordinary borrowers from abuses by lenders was largely Warren's idea, and Congress made it a reality as part of the legislation adopted last month to overhaul financial regulations.

Here's what economists and bloggers are saying about her candidacy:

Felix Salmon defends Warren against her critics:

As for the idea that "additional millions of Americans would have lost jobs and income" had the government not intervened in AIG as it did, well, maybe. And maybe not. But it's not the COP's job to start disappearing down that particular rabbit hole: instead, its job is simply to look at whether TARP money was well spent. And two things seem pretty obvious to me: firstly, if the TARP money were leveraged through the addition of some funds from AIG creditors, the government would have got more bank for its buck. And secondly, the government never seriously considered doing that. It's right and proper for Warren to point that out. And it's certainly no disqualification when it comes to the CFPB job, no matter what weird jihad the editors of the Fiscal Times seem to be on.

Noam Scheiber explains why he thinks Warren will be confirmed:

According to TPMDC, the Democratic Senate nominee in Kentucky, Jack Conway, has come out in favor of Warren. The major-party nominees for federal office are usually pretty good at assessing their own self-interest. And even if you grant that there's some margin for error here, the fact that a Senate nominee in Kentucky -- hardly a bastion of liberalism -- can make a plausible political case for endorsing Warren suggests her nomination will have some resonance in middle America. (It also further demonstrates that red-state Dems will have a tough time opposing her in the Senate.)

David Corn argues that not appointing Warren would say something about Obama's view of the Left:

Progressives are talking about Warren as if this could be their last straw regarding Obama. I doubt it. As important as this appointment is, there are larger issues to fret about: what to do in Afghanistan, how to re-ignite the economy. Yet what Obama does with Warren will be telling. After all, why not appoint and then fight for the obvious (and best) choice? Should he spurn Warren, the president will have a problem that extends beyond the "professional left."

By Dylan Matthews  |  August 18, 2010; 11:01 AM ET
Categories:  *Econosphere  
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Next: Economic agenda: Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010


She's "polarizing"? Come the f--k on, Dylan. Do you journalists have to hedge everything to appear fair and balanced? Or is it that liberal women are obligatorily assumed to be polarizing right out of the gate? Not a single one of your sources was negative about Warren. She's not any more "polarizing" that anyone else Obama would nominate. What she is is a f--king slam dunk.

Posted by: Anonymous | August 22, 2010 5:57 PM | Report abuse

As much as I like Ms. Warren, the job she did with TARP, and I respect her ideas regarding consumer protection, the CFPB she proposed has hijacked the discourse of financial reform. The leading banks on Wall Street are posting profits and cutting huge bonuses, yet nobody is lending, credit is still tight, and there are no jobs. That is the biggest threat to consumers. Consumer protection begins with getting the economy back on track, not with shutting the credit tap by attacking payday lenders and check cashers.

Posted by: Creeze2 | August 23, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

I find it interesting and enlightening that a choice of Warren is considered a "liberal" choice.

So, someone whose ideas and past actions are pro-consumer and in the interest of the average American is considered a liberal candidate.

I wish we could get this concept out to all average Americans, many of whom are Fox "News" followers and see if the idea penetrates their minds. Someone capable and very interested in representing the Joe Blow consumer equals someone who is a "liberal".

It might help these people to finally understand the real difference between a conservative and a liberal.

Posted by: oflibertysons | August 24, 2010 1:44 AM | Report abuse

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