Who do we want? Elizabeth Warren! When do we want her? Now!
What we want is for President Obama to gut it up and appoint a real consumer advocate to serve as director of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Created by the Wall Street reform bill that Obama recently signed into law, the CFPB can be an independent, aggressive force to battle banker scams and rip-offs on behalf of ordinary Americans. However, it will only be that if an extraordinarily knowledgeable, feisty fighter who is unafraid to confront the banksters is put in charge.
That description fits Warren perfectly. The first thing you need to know about her is that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the tail-wagging puppy of Wall Street, is trying to block her, because America's banking barons both despise and fear Warren. I don't know about you, but I find that wonderfully refreshing! What finer testimonial could a consumer protector have than to be vehemently opposed by the special interests she would regulate?
Warren, a widely respected Harvard law professor and an expert in bankruptcy law, actually wrote the bill to create this consumer protection agency, so her professional credentials for the job are impeccable. Just as importantly, though, she comes from a working-class Oklahoma family, has personally faced financial crises, and has felt the crushing power of uncaring bankers. "I learned early on what debt means, how vulnerable it makes people," she says. Warren, who has never abandoned her populist roots, is smart, tenacious — and can't be bought.
That's why the Wall Street establishment opposes her, and it is precisely why America needs her. To join Sen. Bernie Sanders in urging Obama to choose Elizabeth Warren to be our consumer champion, go to sanders.senate.gov.
Jim Hightower is the best-selling author of Swim Against the Current: Even a Dead Fish Can Go With the Flow, on sale now from Wiley Publishing. For more information, visit jimhightower.com.