Is Elizabeth Warren the Che Guevara of consumer protection?
Jon Stewart demands answers.
Warren, who serves as assistant to the President and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, appeared on The Daily Show Tuesday night in an extended interview with Stewart. Her message was simple: The consumer bureau is here to protect from the dangers of a boom-bust cycle, it is for the American people, it brings basic and sensible values to financial services.
"What we can really do is we can build a system in which there is not only some basic security for the economy, but it's really about middle class families," Warren said. "Millions of Americans today live one bad diagnosis, one pink slip one interest rate reset away from complete financial collapse. This consumer agency is really a very tangible, very concrete down payment on the notion that together we can build something that's fairer and we can actually give middle class families a better chance to survive, economically, maybe even to prosper. That's really what this is about."
But the agency is not without threats to its very existence. Various lobbies and bills in the house and senate represent what Warren considers a "knife in the ribs" to the agency, an all-out, behind-the-scenes attack at the very things that could make the CFPB effective.
But those attacks are missing the point, Warren suggests. The CFPB seeks to make financial services less confusing, to eliminate the fine print and help consumers understand exactly what it is they're being sold. And perhaps, with the help of more transparency, that could help avoid another crisis the likes of which the industry has been fighting to overcome for the past several years.
"We believe that together we can do better than the mess that was created," Warren said.