Friday, July 23, 2010
Like many around the country, I'm transfixed by whether Pres. Obama will (as he most certainly should) appoint Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Protection Agency that is part of the regulatory legislation signed yesterday. First, I should note that Liz is an old friend, going back to the time she graced the University fo Texas Law School faculty. (We lost her first to Penn and then they, in turn, lost her to Harvard.) I simply want to make two points:
Since only a few cases will be concerned with the legislation or bankruptcy, I need a bit more to suggest why she is the best replacement for Ginsburg.
But, there is more suggested by the post, so I'm game, if it comes to that.
Overall, I do want more reasons for the base to be excited, since they were screwed over with Dawn Johnsen and others, while people like the Secretary of Labor, who is supposed to be someone they should like is like never heard of, though these days, that position would seem to be fairly important.
Off topic, but I wanted to make sure you saw the review in the New Yorker of George Szpiro's book on alternate voting systems (and the book itself, too).
I, too, have long admired Elizabeth. She is the logical choice to head the new Consumer Protection Agency.
But I also admire Paul Krugman, especially with his Op-Ed views during the Bush/Cheney years. Yes, Paul may have been a logical choice as a top member of Obama's economic team. But if Paul had been appointed, the political loyalty requirement may have been too limiting. I don't know if Paul was asked to joined, but I'm glad he didn't so that he can continue to give frank economic advice and analysis not only in his twice weekly Op-Eds in the NYTimes but with even more frequency with his Conscience of a Liberal Blog at the NYTimes. His independence serves liberals, progressives AND America well.
The concern I have with Ms. Warren's appointment is that her independence may be stifled because of political requirements of loyalty. Her independence, as in the case of Paul Krugman, may better serve us all outside of the Obama Administration, unless her independence can be assured (somewhat in the manner of, but better than, the Fed Chair). But if Treasury Secretary Geithner has his foot on her air hose, I would worry.
I am sure that Prof. Warren is a very nice lady. However, has it occurred to anyone that the combination of a statute granting a bureaucracy nearly unlimited power over every credit transaction in the nation (apart from the dispensation given to auto dealers) and a populist department head might not be the best way to relieve our current credit shortage?
Yeah, we really need to keep the boot-heels of government agencies off the necks of all the wonderful people who are making credit so available today.
I'm sorry, really, but I can spare only limited care for your imagined credit shortage -- I'm still all worried about the death panels created under the health care bill. They seem a lot more of an "existential" threat.
a) is there any real question in anyone who is not ideologically blind that there is a dangerous instability in the financial sector, as currently unregulated?
b) if we're going to have a consumer protection office, I'd really rather have a "populist" (interesting term for someone who has made a career out of making sure banks, when they fail, get liquidated smoothly) than, say, a randite.
Thanks, Mark, for the off-topic comment. I had earlier read Adrian Vermeule's "Second Opinions" that had been highly recommended by Larry Solum at his always interesting Legal Theory Blog. The article is available via SSRN at:
Of particular interest is Vermeule's focus upon public law in Part III on the structure of legislative and voting structures, judicial review and judicial precedent, and "sobering" second opinions. Adding to this Anthony Gottlieb's review of George Szpiro's book, I think of the difficult issues that a constitutional convention would have to deal with. So, Mark, your comment may not be so off topic with respect to a combination of Sandy's posts in recent months..
And Larry Solum has recently recommended a companion article by Vermeule "Open-Secret Voting" that I'll start on shortly. (It's also available via SSRN with a link at the Legal Theory Blog.)
Mark, I just downloaded The New Yorker Hendrick Hertzberg's Internet post "Gottlieg on Voting" commenting on Gottlieb's review, available at:
right on, sandy! why not turn this into an op-ed piece for the newspapers? like joe, though, i'd like to hear more about about why she would be the best replacement for ginsburg.
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