Opponents of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, part of President Obama's financial reform package hesitantly approved by Congress, were both illogical and deceptive in their reasons for fighting an agency specifically designed to make ordinary folks better informed and less subject to being victimized by credit card companies or banks.
Republicans led the charge against the bureau, arguing in the wake of the near-collapse of America's financial system that it was just too much regulation. Even now, they treat regulation as a four-letter word that will hamstring the financial markets (which happen to be captained by their supporters).
It's an outrageous position considering that economists now are hedging their bets on recovery from a downturn that began in the latter months of the Bush administration and that was in considerable part due to loosey-goosey regulations on lenders and the big Wall Street firms. What part of Great Recession don't they understand? Does subprime mortgage collapse ring a bell?
Elizabeth Warren, selected by Obama to design the new agency, is not moved by opponents, and that's good for the American people. If a Los Angeles Times interview carried in The N&O is any indication, she is focused, determined and tough. That some Republicans would oppose her appointment because she is seen as an aggressive supporter of consumer protection regulation is appalling. A consumer advocate is exactly the kind of person to fill this role.
Warren said, for example, that Americans should start seeing benefits from the agency immediately. That's because credit providers will be cautious in lieu of concerns over how the agency will use its broad powers to make and enforce rules that cover consumers' mortgage borrowing and credit cards. She describes the atmosphere as "a world with a cop on the beat." She notes, for example, that credit card companies already are working on clarifying some of the agreements they have with customers.
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