Saturday, December 01, 2012

The name that strikes fear in hearts all over Wall Street, Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Courtesy of New York Magazine:

Elizabeth Warren is already giving Wall Street executives serious agita. In their mind, the spunky senator-elect from Massachusetts is heading to Washington for one reason only: to destroy them and everything they stand for. 

"Looking at her rhetoric on the campaign trail, she seems to take an exception to wealth creation and what banks do," said one bank executive. "It’s not really Wall Street she’s against — it’s banks, full stop," added another. 

Banks have disliked Warren since her Harvard days, when she agitated against predatory lending, credit card fees, and other bank practices. And as her national profile grew through her work with TARP oversight and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the watchdog agency she helped create, their arm's-length opposition became a full-on war. Banks lobbied to keep her from being nominated to head the CFPB, then poured big donations into the campaign of Scott Brown, her Senate race opponent. 

After her convincing victory in November, her appointment to the powerful Senate Banking Committee, where she would have actual oversight of the financial sector, is seen by many on Wall Street as a fait accompli. 

"It’s all but certain she’ll be on the banking committee. If she isn’t, we’ll be among the most surprised people on earth," said one bank executive. 

What scares Wall Street most is that, unlike many industry detractors, Warren can stand toe-to-toe with industry lobbyists on the nuances of regulation and the nature of complex financial products. She is also skilled at boiling esoteric points about Wall Street's excesses down to a pure, potent narrative of intentional malpractice. In her speech at the Democratic National Convention, Warren took on banks using the kind of brusque language you don't hear all that often on Capitol Hill. 

"People feel like the system is rigged against them," she said. "And here's the painful part: they're right. The system is rigged. Look around. Oil companies guzzle down billions in subsidies. Billionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries. Wall Street CEOs — the same ones who wrecked our economy and destroyed millions of jobs — still strut around Congress, no shame, demanding favors, and acting like we should thank them." 

The speech was booed by Republicans and mocked by Wall Street, but it was a hit everywhere else, even among legislators not traditionally known for their anti-bank rhetoric.

Wall Street threw just about every extra dollar they had at Scott Brown to help him defeat Warren and it simply was not enough.  And they knew full well what they were in for if she won that race too.

Once Warren is named to the Senate Banking Committee, like everybody assumes she will be, she can immediately start working on financial reform, a task she clearly takes very seriously.

But being a junior Senator is there really THAT much she can accomplish?

Well according to Professor Simon Johnson, yes there is:

How much can a new senator accomplish? Within hours of her victory, some commentators from the financial sector suggested that no freshman senator could achieve much. This is wishful thinking on their part. 

A newly elected senator can have a great deal of impact if she is well informed on relevant details, plugged into the policy community and focused on a few key issues. It also helps if such a senator can bring effective outside pressure to bear – and Ms. Warren is a most effective communicator, including on television. She has an unusual ability to cut through technical details and to explain the issues in a way that everyone can relate to.

Oh yeah, this is going to be a very important career to keep an eye on.  Personally I was ALMOST as excited about this victory as I was President Obama's.


  1. "she seems to take an exception to wealth creation and what banks do" ??

    She certainly takes exception to what banks do -- especially fraud, theft, money laundering, inside trading, and all the other activities that banksters engage in while "creating" wealth. Those hucksters have never understood that wealth and the price of securities are not the same thing. It's all a mirage but they call it wealth. I have a garden -- that is wealth to me.

  2. Anonymous4:59 AM

    Me too... I live here in MA and it was tight. Since I knew MA would go for President Obama I felt my vote most counted when I cast it for Ms. Warren.

    I worked with Martha Coakley in here race against Brown in 2010. She is a strong, intelligent woman too. I couldn't believe Brown won with talking points of "I'm just like you, I drive a pick-up truck and wear a barn coat. I read somewhere that the barn coat cost $700!!! Sheesh, that's probably how much my whole wardrobe cost!

  3. Anonymous5:19 AM

    All good reading regarding the "Fiscal Cliff"

    The Genius of Obama's Opening Move: Tightening the Rope Around the GOP's Neck

    The president is in a fighting mood. Starting today, he's barnstorming the country, getting the American people to pressure Congress to extend the middle class tax breaks, and to do so now. Yesterday, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner presented the leaders of Congress with the Administration's opening offer. That offer is heavy on revenue, tax fairness, and Medicare savings without affecting benefits. Here's a short summary of what the president has proposed, from leaked details.

    Class Wars of 2012

    by Paul Krugman

    ...So keep your eyes open as the fiscal game of chicken continues. It’s an uncomfortable but real truth that we are not all in this together; America’s top-down class warriors lost big in the election, but now they’re trying to use the pretense of concern about the deficit to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Let’s not let them pull it off.

    Fiscal Cliff Fictions: Let’s All Agree to Pretend the GOP Isn’t Full of It

    It’s really amazing to see political reporters dutifully passing along Republican complaints that President Obama’s opening offer in the fiscal cliff talks is just a recycled version of his old plan, when those same reporters spent the last year dutifully passing along Republican complaints that Obama had no plan. It’s even more amazing to see them pass along Republican outrage that Obama isn’t cutting Medicare enough, in the same matter-of-fact tone they used during the campaign to pass along Republican outrage that Obama was cutting Medicare.

    This isn’t just cognitive dissonance. It’s irresponsible reporting.

    Read more:

    Obama to GOP: I’m done negotiating with myself

    GOP Furious That Obama Is Acting Like He Won The Election

    Basically the president is asking for exactly what he campaigned on.


    The Republicans are, reportedly, outraged by President Obama’s opening bid in the fiscal cliff talks. Republicans always seem to be outraged. It’s getting boring. They need to step up and make a counter-offer.

    That’s how people negotiate. In this case, they need to be specific about the spending cuts they want. When their specific initial offer is on the table, then you can haggle. (Of course, it’s entirely possible that all this is a smokescreen and actual haggling is taking place privately, between John Boehner and the President.)

    But it is time to stow the Republican intemperance. It might have seemed “righteous” indignation when the GOP was deluding itself about representing a majority of Americans; now, it just seem puerile and petulant...

    Read more:

    1. Anonymous7:07 AM

      Boehner needs to be taken out to the barn and given a good going over by the Dems! I'll wager he is NOT reelected in his next go around.

      President Obama has him by the balls!

  4. Anonymous5:45 AM

    To honor Scott Brown, she should wear Indian war paint and feathers in her hair when she is sworn in as Senator.

    1. Anonymous7:04 AM

      5:45 Your comment made me hoot and holler! As a part Cherokee woman, that would be the icing on the cake.

      She's going to be fun to watch and learn from there is no doubt.

      Wasn't it fun seeing all the money thrown out there against her and she still beat the crap out of Scott Brown! Justice!!!

    2. Anonymous11:21 AM

      Hahahaha! Yesssss!

  5. johnie2xs5:46 AM

    If only would could clone this woman's ability to communicate to the rest of our legislators. This woman is an absolute gem. A breath of fresh air.
    2016 may be too early, but surely in 2020 she should be in contention for the Presidential nomination.
    Watch the Rethuglikan Rats scramble then,if that comes about. Ride 'em Cowgirl!!! Yee-Haw!!!!!

  6. Anonymous6:04 AM

    I work in Voluntary Insurance.

    One of our resources is to send out articles to allow people to know how health care costs & practices are rising and families are unable to cope with the increased amounts.

    One of the authors cited in one of my articles is:
    Professor Elizabeth Warren.

    She has been working *FOR* America for a VERY LONG time.


    WE WON!!!!!!!!!!

  7. WakeUpAmerica6:12 AM

    Me too. Elizabeth Warren is an amazing woman. She knows what she is talking about, she is fearless, and she is always respectful unlike some people we know. Lookin' at you, Tundra Turd.

    1. Anonymous11:19 AM

      And she is honest, unsullied by great wealth or corruption, accomplishments galore under her belt, and a stance re no-nonsense hair that I find v attractive. Not always her best look, but attractive for that very reason IMO.

      Yes -- amazing. For our sakes, I wish her an astonishing, great, important future.

  8. Leland6:43 AM

    With the repeal of the Glass-Steagle Act of 1932, (which was accomplished by a Republican Congress) the banks are now - once again - able to use the savings accounts and other monies not really theirs in any manner they want, including risky investments. The Glass-Steagle Act (as I understand it) differentiated between a DEPOSITOR'S money and the BANK'S money and disallowed the depositor's money for certain investments. That money could be used for things like mortgages and personal loans, but not risky venture capital. AND THEY KNOW THAT!

    It's what Occupy was trying to TELL people. The banks ARE responsible for the crash.

    They are concerned that that "little" fiasco will become public knowledge - and if she is appointed to the Banking Committee, it WILL be.

    1. Anonymous11:15 AM

      GO Elizabeth!

  9. Unlike Lou Grant, I LOVE spunk. (And that wasn't a double entendre!)

  10. Anonymous9:31 AM

    I predict Elizabeth Warren will do so much good in the next few years -- important stuff -- that she will be a great, great choice for the next Dem candidate for president after Pres Obama retires.

    And she will win.

  11. Anonymous1:24 PM

    I agree with you Gryphen, Elizabeth Warren will be an excellent politician, it will be a pleasure to watch her fight for the American people, especially the middle class and poor.

  12. emrysa7:33 PM

    while I don't live in ma I was very happy to see warren won - especially by the margin with which she won. hopefully she will have a lengthy and influential term. she knows what time it is and can do a lot of good for the country. maybe vp some year...


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