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Elizabeth Warren on The Daily Show

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips co-blogger Elizabeth Warren officially just became the coolest person I know. She will appear as tonight's guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. One of the other Credit Slips co-bloggers told me that "being the coolest person I know" is not really a compliment given the company I keep. Fair enough, but I meant it is a compliment. I hope Elizabeth had fun doing the interview. Being on the The Daily Show probably surpasses my life ambition: being immortalized in one of the Wall Street Journal's pointilzed portraits. The Daily Show has come to occupy an important place in the conversation about today's problems, and I am glad that it is shining a light on some of the topics we discuss here on Credit Slips.

Newsweek also featured a profile of Elizabeth and discussed her work as chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel.


My life ambition is the pointilized portrait in the WSJ too! I think this says something about my "cool" factor, that we share an ambition.

Hypothetically speaking, Katie, if you were the other Credit Slips co-blogger who dissed my coolness factor, it might not be coming from an expert on the art of "cool."

Ooo!! Oooo!!! Professor fight! Professor fight!

"Ladies and gentlemen... Let's get ready to philosophiiiiiize!!!!!"

Sorry... Too much caffeine today....;)~

In all seriousness, you're all entirely too cool to me and many others out there. Some of the work that many of the regular participants and guests here have done just over the last few years has done so much to help so many people. You may not hear about it, but your studies are showing up in litigation and congressional testimony across the country as evidence and/or argument to a myriad of problems out there in the consumer world.

Just looking at the "Past contributors" list I (me - as common as they come) can point to Professors Kilborn, Weller, Twomey, Martin, McCoy, Levitin, and obviously Professors Lawless, Warren and Porter as those whose works have been put to "real world" application. Like many others, I've cited Professor Porter's work in my own litigation as well as Kurt Eggert and Christopher Peterson. And if *I* can recognize the importance of your contributions, as far removed from anything and everything that I am, you all MUST be having a significant effect on the world.

It's about time that you collectively get some recognition from the "rest" of the world for your efforts. I hope someone has the bowl of brown M&Ms and chilled Evian ready for Professor Warren when she's done taping... I've got my Sharpie ready for autographs from all of you if I ever have the opportunity..

Sweet! I was going to take the wife and kids for Sushi tonight..... you know? I'll just have to DVR it! That is so cool! I love "The Daily Show"! I have to post this on "fb". Ya, I agree with Mike. You guys are cool in my book (more like pamphlet). It would blow my mind if I saw any of you all at a punk rock show.

Banks raising credit card rates and fees is like making taxpayers pay twice? Did she really say this? Ummm....no. Let us simplify and say that TAXPAYERS are upper decile wage earners. These fine folks are not much impacted by risk-based price changes to card portfolios. But even if they were (theoretically), wouldn't the TAXPAYER prefer a return on their INVESTMENT to a small decrease in a controllable monthly opex?

It is simplistic comments such as these that make me wonder why we don't have someone with actual business experience, financial services industry exposure and economics training sitting in Elizabeth's seat. Does Elizabeth have revealing pictures of Harry or something?

I also watched her on John Stewart. Was that a bit she was doing or is she really that oblivious. I hope for Harvard Law's sake that was a bit??? WTF?

I had never heard of Elizabeth Warren before today, and I sat through the first segment of her interview on the Daily Show seriously trying to work out whether she was an actress performing a subtle hoax.

She was completely intimidated by the audience and Jon Stewart, and literally didn't know what to say at times. When she wasn't delivering news of staggering mismanagement and greed, she didn't seem to understand what she was talking about better than the average media person.

I said to my room mate in the ad break "if that is any indication, the world economy is totally f**cked".

Then she came out and completely blew me away in the second act. She was poised and confident. She explained the problems and possible solutions in such a way that it was digestible by a person without an economics degrees. She was great.

Brava, Professor Warren.

You know I recorded it but got the wrong episode apparently. I got some baseball player interview. Guess I will have to youtube it.. Although I didn't get to see it. I can get the concept of Taxpayers paying twice. In the last three days I have seen as many couples who make well over 100k come in and talk about bankruptcy. Why? Credit Card minimum payment resets. At least what I have been seeing the above median income wage earners are just as susceptible to the hike in minimum payments as below median income wage earners. Why? Well...lets just face it. You have more to spend, more likely than not you will and the higher wage earners almost always pay at least the minimum. If the higher income wage earners or above median pay most of the taxes in this country and those funds are going to those same Banks that gave you a credit card. You are paying twice. The rise in that "risk" premium in theory will go to pay off TARP funds that came from US. How is that NOT paying twice?

I love that. "Capitalism without Bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell". She was actually funny as well. Great interview.. There was a great history lesson in there and it was explained in supper simple terms (loved that aspect of the interview)

You can watch the episode in it's entirety here: http://www.hulu.com/watch/68144/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-wed-apr-15-2009

Professor Warren appears on parts 2 & 3. Her critique of modern day regulatory bodies (beginning in the the 18th minute) was nothing short of brilliant.

Totally Agree! It actually helped me explain to someone(my "conservative" message therapist/ Tea bagger)in simple terms where we are and how we got here to begin with. When you are not as sophisticated as say a professor, you usually go with the simplest of explanations. She has been fed these over simplified and misleading explanations from the other side so it was good to show her in simple terms the other side of the argument.

She took for granted that this whole mess was a Democratic invention (Clinton). So I used a Republican talking point to explain that it would have been next to impossible to create this kind of havoc with just 8% of Mortgages defaulting without the help of unregulated or under regulated leveraging. "Leveraging" was kind of a chore to explain in simple terms. It was over all a relaxing session although she was applying less pressure once I started challenging her about the mortgage mess of which I am in more of a janitorial role in this whole debacle.

Jon Stewart says toward the end: "You sound like me" and that's the truth and the sad part. Prof Warren displays not much more understanding of financial intermediaries than he does. Those who don't work on Wall Street, you may not appreciate the irony of her explanation of "stress test" it's what large trading houses have been doing internally for at least the past decade, some longer, the ones she rails against. I was thinking, on the talk show of the blind, the one eyed guest is an expert.
I also loved the rousing bit at the end about how more regulation means stability and prosperity for ordinary folks. I do not know of any stable instrument, save short term Treasury bills. I do not know how how they translate into prosperity; rather, short term Treasuries are where you store prosperity earned elsewhere in the private sector. That bit also seems entirely at odds with her comment that capitalism without bankruptcy is like Christianity without hell, which I liked. There do have to be downsides in capitalism. But then by definition that is not stable. So does stability mean no capitalism? Whence the prosperity then? No modern society has achieved the one without the other.

Prof Warren vows to "keep talking about it". Right - on The Daily Show with people who don't understand financial markets. How about an open debate with a more challenging audience - like financial market professionals.

I used to love Jon Stewart when he was taking on the moralistic hypocrites in the Republican Party back in 05-06. But his show has jumped the shark.

MT sadly underestimates both Prof. Warren and John Stewart and for that matter the American public. Stress tests are mathematical modeling, and while they may have been done in the past, they obviously were not modeling the real world, because they totally missed the boat on predicting where the economy would be circa 2007 and 2008.
And I agree that she was at her best when she described the true genius that came out of the FDR years and without saying so that the Reagan era begun deregulation led us right back to the boom/bust cycle that we are now in again, and she is exactly right that we either take back control over the economic engines or we will continue to see the yo yo markets and a much less stable future.

I can't speak to Prof. Warren's financial expertise, MT, although I do happen to think she's right about the current crisis stemming from hostility (mostly from Republican ranks) to financial regulation.

But I can say this: she's the only person involved in the whole mess who speaks clearly and plainly and gives straight answers instead of engaging in the same old Sunday-morning-news-show-bob-and-weave we see from the political classes. What a breath of fresh air. Keep up the good work, Prof. Warren!

I want to ditto Bankruptcy Judge's comments. Prof. Warren is the ONLY person throughout this entire debacle that speaks clearly and authentically and actually answers a question without being "politically correct" (which basically means giving "nonanswers" to any substantial question). She exudes an air of actual concern for the citizens of this country which is long overdue. I don't know what has happened over the last number of years (well actually I do but I'm not going to debate it with anyone) but we need an intelligent, honest and, most importantly, ethical person on our side and I for one back her 100%.

We've been literally ruined by all of these individuals with supposed "financial expertise" - I want someone who is strong, willing to challenge the status quo and actually operates from an ethical belief system, which has been so sorely lacking in many so-called "leaders" at all levels in this country.

She fits that bill for me.

I thought she sounded like a fool. Her argument, that "regulations protected us from a boom bust economy," seemed flimsy at best. Even Obama would "agree to disagree"; i.e. he argued that the US economy was "historically robust" since Europe was in shambles after WWII. On top of that, since the US dollar became the "international currency," our "international debt" could be paid off with our printing presses.

Hopefully she gets up to speed and starts telling the truth that ingenuity-- nothing more and nothing less-- keeps our economy growing, not stuffy regulations.

However, as a lawyer, she profits from overly complex regulation; so she's feathering her own bureaucratic nest.

She's also a professor and professors tend to teach simplified versions of history; so, yet again, she's dumbing downed here students, but that's "par for the course" in academia these days.

she's got a pension, so she could care less about "ordinary folks." perhaps if she truly cared, she'd donate her pension and perks to the poor but "talk is cheap" and, most likely, she'll keep playing her "good cop" role and laugh all the way to the bank.

Our GDP had already come back to pre-depression levels before WW II started. And I don't know if you can debunk her "argument" as "flimsy" when she spent a whole 30-60 sec. on the subject. I challenge you to make the same statement after say 30 min. to an hour of debate. I think the fact that she does not need the money makes her argument more credible instead of the other way around. You can't make the big bucks representing poor people. The "big Bucks" flow from the major corporations to their high priced lawyers. ie. Chapter 11 Attorneys fees and expenses (nothing wrong with, it's a lot of work but have you seen one?)

You think she is making money off of poor people? Ya... good one! That makes sense... ???

Both "good cops" and "bad cops" profit from dysfunction. Hence, she's no better than Bush-- i.e. they both need each other.

As far as I can tell, she became a smokescreen and tried to make people forget that the government (both democrats and republicans) actively encouraged states to ignore lending regulations that were on the books. i.e. "states were given stand down orders."

So adding more regulations is simply an aesthetic.

Hence, to be credible, Warren has to tell people this; she also needs to tell the American people that racism was used to increase their quality of life via war (this was MLK's observation).

Instead, she's posing as "the Pope of Finance" and telling us that a better bible will solve our ills. History debunks such posturing.

Elizabeth Warren was great on The Daily Show: if she gets tired of teaching she can always reinvent herself as a comedian. When Jon Stewart quips that, "Maybe we should change the name from TARP to 'moneyhose'," She deadpans, "I think it helps when we give things clear names."
I'm also glad she made Jon Stewart feel better. I agree with him that she makes a lot of sense, and I think she has a good handle on the proper role of regulation in our economy. When you stop to think about it, the idea that we could have a workable economy without regulations is absolutely insane.

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