Protecting Consumers Will Undermine Capitalism
So the fight is on to see whether consumers will get an agency that looks out only for them. Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard professor who originally came up with the idea of a consumer financial agency, sent a letter on Jan. 20 telling supporters that “the next few weeks will determine whether families will have to play by rules written by the banks and for the banks -- rules that let the industry get away with anything.” The day before, Ralph Nader penned a note to Connecticut’s lame duck Senator Christopher Dodd, who, much to the glee of business, has reportedly been warming up to the ABA’s idea of keeping the consumer protection function under the wraps of the safety and soundness folks. Nader told Dodd that a decision to drop the agency would “signal to consumers across the land that you, as chair of the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, have lost touch with Main Street interests.” There could be motivation for Dodd to wean himself away from any populist inclinations. He will be needing a job soon, and it’s probably a safe guess that he won’t be pitching for a five-figure gig with some do-good consumer group.