One month from today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau officially opens for business. As the name implies — the bureau is designed to protect consumers from predatory financial practices, with the goal of ensuring American consumers can choose from products where both the costs and the risks are clear up front...and that nothing is buried in fine print.
Which brings us to a new segment we like to call: Taken to Task
Millions of ordinary Americans were burned by the 2008 crisis, which revealed the financial system — especially the mortgage market -- was filled with unsavory characters and illegal practices.
In an effort to prevent a repeat, the CFPB was created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform act.
But one year later, no one has been named to actually lead the bureau, which is under pressure from Wall Street and its Congressional allies, who want to cut its funding and severely limit its powers.
The agency was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, a longtime consumer advocate and expert on personal bankruptcies.
Last fall, President Obama named Warren as Assistant to the President and Special Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the CFPB. That's a very fancy title but Obama declined to formally name Warren to actually lead the bureau, presumably out of fear she would not be able to win Senate approval.
The Republicans — and a few Democrats - who oppose Warren deserve criticism. I'd actually pay good money to see some bullying Senators go after Warren, who looks like a kindly kindergarten teacher (and was in a past life) but is as tough as an NFL linebacker and smart enough to teach at Harvard, where she's a law professor.
But the real fault here likes with President Obama, who I'd like to take to Task for not standing up for what — and who — he claims to believe in.
More than 300,000 Americans have signed online petitions that champion Warren for the job of leading the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
You can add my name to the list and I encourage all of you to let President Obama and your Representatives in Congress know that Wall Street already has plenty of friends in Washington and it's long past time for ordinary Americans to have someone competent, strong and committed looking out for us, too.
Elizabeth Warren is a champion of the middle class and exactly the kind of person America needs to lead the agency.