Even before she poses her first question to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner when he testifies before her panel for the first time today, expect Troubled
Even before she poses her first question to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner when he testifies before her panel for the first time today, expect Troubled Asset Relief Program oversight head Elizabeth Warren to come under fire. That’s because conservatives have been gunning for Warren, who was an outspoken advocate for consumers before she became chair of the congressional TARP oversight panel. And her warm reception from Jon Stewart during her recent appearance on “The Daily Show,” while cementing her popular appeal, only provided more fodder for critics.
At Naked Capitalism, Yves Smith notes how the right wing increasingly has turned on Warren:
The move to clip the wings of TARP overseer Elizabeth Warren was predictable. The fact that it took so long, and the angle is that she is anti industry (as opposed to anti industry bad behavior, a distinction that will hopefully be lost on the masses) and it took comparatively long to mount the salvo (Warren has been a critic of predatory lending for a long time, and hasn’t been too happy with the Treasury’s handling of the TARP since she first took an official look) suggests that attempts to find real dirt on her did not pan out.
Given that banks have an increasingly bad name in mainstream America, this effort to denigrate her may not stick. But the attempt to paint her as biased is nevertheless a nasty bit of work.
Here’s the conservative argument against Warren, according to Politico:
While the bubbly and brilliant 59-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.”
I think the anti-Warren movement is growing in response to the popularity of some of her ideas. Warren has long pushed for a Financial Products Safety Commission, modeled after a commission for consumer products. Her idea is to provide safeguards so consumers would more clearly understand what they might be getting into when they buy financial products from mortgages to car loans. President Obama has publicly expressed his support for the idea. Bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate to implement it.
It’s been a long time since consumer advocacy has had such a high profile. But it’s important to remember that Warren didn’t suddenly become an advocate in response to her new role. These are issues she’s always pushed – from highlighting credit cards with sky-high interest rates to chronicling the rise of consumer debt.
Maybe it’s just easier these days for critics to call Warren biased, then to listen to the substance of her complaints about TARP. In particular, her concern that banks may need to be nationalized is fueling much of the controversy. Warren is among a group of economists who worry that the United States could end up in the same situation as Japan did, propping up ailing banks for years as the economy stagnates.
It would be helpful if those kinds of questions dominate today’s hearing, and it will be illuminating if Warren and Geithner have a useful debate about about TARP’s goals and its effectiveness. But given the way right-wing critics have already politicized Warren’s position, expect her to become an even bigger target if she tries to take on those kinds of substantive concerns.
TWI is on Twitter. Please follow us here.
Rep. Patrick McHenry: Please, Conservatives, Fill Out Your Census Forms!
The conservative congressman from North Carolina, a constant critic of the census -- one of the people who sounded the alarm about politicization when the
Rep. Paulsen allies with medical device industry to relax FDA oversight
Source: Flickr; Republicanconference (www.flickr.com/photos/republicanconference) On the heels of the Minnesota Independent story last week about U.S. Rep. Erik Paulsen’s cozy financial relationship with the medical device industry, the New York Times reported Tuesday that some health professionals are alarmed by Paulsen’s push to relax Food and Drug Administration (FDA) oversight
Rep. Parker Griffith (R-Ala.)
One of the most conservative Democrats in the House -- a freshman who said he couldn’t support Nancy Pelosi again -- is going to switch over to the GOP. Josh
Rep. Paulsen touts balanced budget constitutional amendment
In a post for the conservative blog True North , U.S. Rep
Rep. Paulsen, Karl Rove the latest to get ‘glittered’
Rep. Erik Paulsen and former Bush staffer Karl Rove were both showered with glitter at the Midwest Leadership Conference Friday
Rep. Paul Ryan to deliver SOTU response
Chairman of the House Budget Committee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) will deliver the Republican response to the State of the Union Tuesday, according to Mike Allen
Rep. Perlmutter criticizes House measure that would eliminate 800K federal jobs
Congressman Ed Perlmutter today issued a scathing statement criticizing the House of Representatives for passing a spending bill that could put nearly a million federal employees out of work. The Colorado delegation voted strictly on party lines, with all four Republicans voting in favor of the bill and the three Democrats voting in opposition. Perlmutter’s statement: “My number one priority is to get people back to work because that’s the best thing we can do to pay our debt and move forward toward economic stability
Rep. Perlmutter to hold constituent meet-up in grocery store
Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter will hold a Government in the Grocery constituent meet-up this evening from 5-7 at the Safeway at 38th and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. The address is 3900 Wadsworth. The meeting, where Perlmutter typically sits at a folding table and talks to whomever shows up, is free and open to the public
Rep. Peace, ACLU seek investigation of soldier’s allegations of racial discrimination in Afghanistan
Both Rep. Steve Pearce (R-NM) and the American Civil Liberties Union agree: There needs to be an investigation into Spc.
School of Hock
A growing number of college grads are defaulting on their student loans as the economy worsens.