Elizabeth Warren

A blogger, whom I admire very much and whom I had the distinct pleasure to meet a couple weeks ago, asked me what I thought of Elizabeth Warren.

I must confess to not having a good answer because I haven’t thought of her very much.

The heads of agencies are most effective when their interests align with the permanent staffs of the agency to which they are appointed. Conversely, if the head of an agency wants something different than the permanent staff wants, the agency often goes into a period of hibernation, during which the permanent staff simply prepares for a time when it is "run" by someone else. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has no staff, so I’ve given it no thought. I still must confess to not being sure what the fuss about the CFPB is.

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8 Responses to Elizabeth Warren

  1. Handle says:

    Did you meet The Moldbug? If so I’m envious.

    At any rate – one of the major textbooks I had to read was co-written by Warren in her distinctive, folksy-snarky way, and I’ve also read her (and her daughter’s) “The Two Income Trap” and enjoy Megan McArdle’s occasional but repeated demolishings of her bogus “Medical Bankruptcy” research.

    The real bottom line with the CFPB is that it’s hoped to be the EEOC lawfare random-suit-threatening enforcer of consumer credit matters. It would be straightforward to write clear and simple rules about the forms which consumer credit instruments can take, but instead, it’s going to be a complaints-and-investigations driven process – and as you know, the process itself is the punishment and the thing that really applies selective pressure to non-donors to either lose their competitive position or sign up to the party machine.

  2. asdf@asdf.com says:

    Handle nails it.

    The ultimate justification for regulation is that it is a basic premise that people are stupid. Hence they must be protected from themselves.

    Try it. If you say “oh, I could do my own market research”, or “I’d like the opportunity to try this new medical treatment without waiting for the bureaucracy”, the answer will be “it might work for you, but it can’t work for everyone, thus regulation”.

    This is how very stylistically different elements of the left (regulators with suits vs. thugs with gold teeth vs. activists with placards) work together.

    All of them are either causes or effects of reducing the birthrate of smart people and increasing the birth rate of the dim.

    There are other commonalities too: the hatred of capitalists along with the attempt to snuff out any manner of independent organization (such as family, neighborhood, race, or religion) that stands between the atomized individual and the all-seeing state.

  3. KevinV says:

    While I agree that this agency is very likely to be nothing more than another lawfare program, the fact is that the Banks really asked for this. Even setting aside their massive raid on the U.S. Treasury and their obvious political entreneurial rent seeking, which alone would justify USG involvement in their daily affairs, there is still reason enough for this move.

    I do as little business as possible with banks and credit card companies, but even so I reoutinely receive legal notices which are highly deceptive and adhere, just barely, to the letter of the law. The most recent example was a notice from BofA which, above the fold, was a mere notice of a change of loan servicer and a simple sentence stating that “our records indicate that your account and payment address will not be affected by this change.”

    Then, below that innocent and technical notice was a single bold line at the bottom of the first page that said “see other side for important notice.”

    The top 3/4ths of the other side had tiny font notices for various states.

    And at the bottom of that was a Fair Debt Collections notice which stated the total of my account well in excess of my actual balance. If I had not read it all and got to that point, and not immediately fired off a letter within the statutory 30 day timeframe, the law would have presumed the debt as stated was valid.

    How many people completely missed that?

    It was perfectly obvious that the letter had been physically crafted to get the consumer to disregard it as unimportant at three different stages.

    You can’t whore it up with the feds, take taxpayer money, issue notices like that and generally shark it up and then legitimately complain that some left-wing lawyer group is going to gang up on you.

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