Tag: Elizabeth Warren
There were stories about student debt on the Wall Street Journal This Morning today and in the Journal's newspaper yesterday mentioning initiatives by Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and others. Unfortunately and maybe intentionally, our Senator's initiatives went unheralded.
During a swing through Virginia last month, Senator Warner stopped at a number of campuses to discuss his concerns. The commercial media has not given Warner's ideas the attention they deserve and his opponent hasn't been challenged on the issues.
Studies like the one done at Brookings that downplay the impact of student loan debt rely on data from 2010 and before; not recent enough to capture the changes to the economic landscape precipitating from the financial crisis. They also fail to account for the debt generated from loans that paid for "educations" from predatory for-profit colleges and universities and the waste of veterans benefits squandered at those same institutions.
Plus there is an intangible factor bearing on the psyche of graduates that the Senator lays out after explaining that his own first two ventures in entrepreneurship and capitalism ended in failure and financial loss:
"The point of the story is: if I had come out with, the way many students are now, with forty, fifty, sixty, seventy thousand dollars' worth of debt, I'm not sure I would have had the courage or ability to try to take those multiple chances."
College debt may be an obstacle to the kind of freedom necessary for the creativity and invention that made America the leader in innovation. Warner offers a number of ideas to mitigate the challenge that student loan debt presents.
Is it really so hard to talk like this if you're a Democrat? I mean, it's simply stating core Democratic values in an articulate, forceful, manner. Seems easy, right? But, sadly, it isn't. Think about it: when was the last time you heard a Virginia Democrat speak like this? Jim Webb back in 2006, perhaps? Tom Perriello in 2008-2009? Donald McEachin when he gets on a roll? Jim Moran when he gets angry about injustice? A few others (e.g., I've seen Gerry Connolly really fire it up at times). But for most Virginia Democrats, speaking like Elizabeth Warren does in this video - strongly connecting with the Democratic Party's roots and articulating its values - appears to be the proverbial "rocket science." Why is that? It's really not so hard, that is, if you passionately believe in those Democratic values, and are not just an ambitious politician or a corporate shill without any progressive, populist, working class, middle class, or other Democratic core principles (not to name any names, but I can think of a few right off the top of my head, including one VERY popular one!).
We appreciate your leadership last year in supporting the strong financial reforms in the Dodd-Frank bill that responded to the financial meltdown on Wall Street that led to the worst recession since the Depression.Rep. Bobby Scott's office says he supports a recess appointment for Warren and will be adding his voice to the effort soon. Rep. Gerry Connolly's office tells me that while Connolly supports Warren, he opposes the use of recess appointments under any circumstances. You can add your name to the Progressive Change Campaign Committee's petition to President Obama to make a recess appointment at BoldProgressives.org.
A key element of that effort was the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau with the goals of making prices clear, risks clear, making financial markets work for families and particularly protecting service members and their families from abusive financial practices. Since you appointed Professor Warren to "stand up" the bureau, she has laid the foundation as a strong advocate for consumers - something that seems to strike fear among those who are opposed to reform.
Regretfully, Republicans in the Senate have now made it clear that they oppose reform. They have vowed that they will not allow consideration of any nominee to head the CFPB until the bureau is weakened. They would rather hold your appointment hostage and obstruct the process than make sure consumers have a strong advocate on their side.
Since Republican Senators have said that no one is acceptable unless the law is weakened, we would urge you to nominate Professor Warren as the CFPB's first Director anyway. If Republicans in the Senate indeed refuse to consider her, we request that you use your constitutional authority to make her a recess appointment. We can think of no better person to be the first Director of this incredibly important consumer financial protection regulator.