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Secrets about Elizabeth Warren Revealed

posted by Katie Porter

I have known Elizabeth Warren for ten years, and I know her pretty well. I've been to her home; she's been to mine. She sent me baby gifts; I got her a 60th birthday present. We exchange Christmas cards,  . . . you get the idea.

Now she's a candidate for this big-time appointment as the Director of the New Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. And somehow there are these things about her that must be deep-dark secrets  because it seems like people do not know Elizabeth Warren at all. (As Bob Lawless has written, I think the debate is becoming about a caricature of Prof. Warren, not Prof. Warren the real person.) So here it is . . . Secrets about Elizabeth Warren Revealed.

1) Elizabeth Warren has a credit card. In fact, I believe she has more than one! And she charges on them. She has bank accounts. She writes checks on them. She is not some kind of anti-bank nut who keeps all her money under her mattress and is hoarding gold coins. She does not hate banks; she is a bank customer.  Like most of us, she trusts her money to banks and hopes they take good care of it.

2) Elizabeth Warren believes that borrowing money can be a way to improve one's life--to open up opportunities like going to college, starting a business, or buying a home. She has expressed genuine concern about credit in America drying up as a result of the financial crisis. Indeed, in her role as Chair of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, she has held hearings and written reports on the harms of credit drying up, particularly for very small businesses, entrepreneurs, and self-employed people.

3) Elizabeth Warren spends less on her hair product than Timothy Geithner. Now, it's true, I have no idea what Mr. Geithner spends, but I promise you this--Elizabeth is a wash and wear woman. Her hair really is that tidy, all by itself! I have been to several of these "young women's leadership conferences" where the speakers (seriously!!!) have extolled the importance of tidy hair for success in public life; she's set!  And she also loves dogs and babies and comes to the aid of those needing assistance in crossing streets. (How is any of point #3 relevant? I don't know but neither are many of her other qualities that are being remarked upon).

4) Elizabeth Warren understands business transactions, including complex ones like securitizations and mezzanine financing. She has been an expert witness in numerous commercial litigation cases. She can do math, even hard math. Trust me, if you can explain and calculate bankruptcy tax liabilities, you are smart enough to be Director. I am astonished at comments that seem to suggest that she is some kind of soft heart, detached from a hard mind. The most over-the-top comment in this vein may have been in today's USA Today, where somone stated that Elizabeth "does not qualify" as "someone who deeply understands the logic of consumer finance." Umm . . . you mean the logic of businesses lending money to consumers to make as large of a profit as possible? I think Elizabeth has that logic down cold.

5) Elizabeth Warren is a capitalist (gasp!) She works to make money and then she keeps it for herself, rather than disseminating it to the proletariat (gasp!). She owns property and does not want to surrender it to the state (gasp!). Indeed, to return to first principles, the entire premise of a dedicated consumer financial protection agency was that some aspects of the markets were dysfunctional and needed some regulatory oversight to continue functioning. The very point of the agency is to help the markets function better (just like the SEC is supposed to help the securities markets work better) not to shut down markets in favor of state-run financial products.

Comments

The Atlantic has a critical two part article by Megan McArdle - part one is here:

http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2010/07/considering-elizabeth-warren-the-scholar/60211/

I am in complete agreement with Professor Porter. I have been in the consumer financial industry for over 40 years. I first was introduced, while short, in 1990 when Elizabeth was interviewed by a publication where I was an editorial consultant on her book"As We Forgive Our Debtors". I then met her again during the National Bankruptcy Review Hearings in 1997. While I was and have been on the creditor side, I experienced a professional who reached out to understand my industry. Since then and presently I have beeen honored to know Professor Warren through face to face meetings and written communications. While we may not have agreed to issues, I do know she listened and extended professional responses. There is no doubt in my mind that she would be an excellent choice to head the new department because of her knowledge and more importantly she is not influenced by those who may agree or disagree with her positions.I would support her appointment without question and know she would an excellent choice.

Professor Charles Fried, the Solicitor General under President Ronald Reagan, has offered some thoughts on Professor Elizabeth Warren. See here:

http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-cohn/76527/charles-fried-supports-elizabeth-warren

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on Elizabetth Warren @6:00 on Charlie Rose.

http://www.charlierose.com/view/interview/11132

AMC--

Megan McArdle's article has been widely debunked as nonsense:

RJ Escow deconstructs Megan McArdle - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rj-eskow/elizabeth-warren-and-her_b_659797.html

Mike Konczal deconstructs Megan McArdle - http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2010/07/27/megan-mcardles-hack-post-on-elizabeth-warrens-scholarship/

Lucky! She is the very best one for the job! We need her in that position. Huffington Post has been plugging her a ton lately!

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