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Elizabeth Warren kind of, sort of appointed new consumer finance protection czar




Elizabeth Warren at a Congressional hearing in March.
Elizabeth Warren at a Congressional hearing in March.
Alex Wong/Getty Images North Americ

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The official announcement won’t come until tomorrow but Elizabeth Warren, currently a professor of law at Harvard University and the head of the Congressional Oversight Panel monitoring TARP, will be named “Assistant to the President and Special Adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury on the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau.” If that sounds like a vague, bureaucratic title, you’re hearing it right: the appointment of Warren, a scholar of the middle class and a champion of consumer rights, is meant to be vague so that she’ll skip a Senate confirmation process that is sure to be contentious and is potentially unwinnable. So a compromise seems to have been reached by the Obama Administration that will put Warren in a position to run the new consumer protection agency but leave the official final decision-making to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. Should liberal supporters of Warren be cheering that she’ll be in a position of influence or be disappointed in President Obama’s unwillingness to pick a fight over consumer protection?

Guests:

Mary Bottari, director of the Real Economy project for the Center for Media and Democracy

Dean Baker, economist and co-director of the Center for Economic Policy and Research