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The TARP Enforcer

James Scurlock, director of “Maxed Out,” a groundbreaking documentary on consumer debt, steps up to defend TARP oversight panel head Elizabeth Warren today in The Big Money. Scurlock says that “no one grasps the true nature of our hard times” better than Warren, a longtime scholar of consumer debt and bankruptcy.

Warren, who has spent the better part of a decade fighting for the rights of the maxed-out American family, finds herself with a new mandate: protecting the largest investment of tax dollars in history. Yet if we could place all of these troubled and toxic bad apples on a rocket and blast them into outer space, Warren cautions, we would still be left with deeply troubled American households. “I suspect,” Warren recently told me, “there are many people, particularly in the financial services industry, who wish we could hit the reset button, and it would be 2005 again. They would make great profits and the country will continue to hum along. But this crisis has shown us that not only were millions of middle-class Americans left behind; much of the great wealth at the top was part of a pyramid scheme.

Scurlock’s praise for Warren comes as she increasingly draws fire from the right, which perceives her as an overly zealous consumer advocate who supports more regulation of the financial services industry. Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has called the attempts to paint Warren as biased, cutting into her credibility as she oversees the troubled government bailout program, “a nasty bit of work.”

Scurlock seems to be hitting right back with his piece. Looks like TARP — already mired in controversy — is becoming even more contentious.

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