July 29th, 2010 by Dr. Phil
AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta
Lately, you may have been reading or hearing about a highly respected Harvard law professor by the name of Elizabeth Warren. To be sure, she has been all over the press. She is being considered to head a new and innovative consumer bureau, and her strong consumer advocacy has some folks quaking in their boots. As it turns out, Elizabeth is a good friend of mine and of the show, and is a good, down-to-earth Oklahoma native! She has worked with our viewers to help them grasp today’s financial realities and the options available to them. She is smart, hard working and connects in a very real way. I am such a fan, I even wrote the forward for one of her excellent books on financial survival, All Your Worth: The Ultimate Lifetime Money Plan. We are so like-minded!
From our very first conversation, Elizabeth talked to me at length about her growing concern that people had little protection from the excesses of America’s financial system. She once said, “Hard-working people have become the turkey at the Wall Street banks’ Thanksgiving dinner.”
Today, in my opinion, largely because of Elizabeth’s passionate lobbying, we now have the newly created Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Its sole job is to protect American consumers from unfair, deceptive and abusive financial practices and help people like you and me get clear information on loans and other financial products we purchase from credit card companies, mortgage brokers and banks. It will also do what it can to eliminate hidden charges and other tricks and traps that some lenders use to prey upon consumers.
As you know, I don’t talk politics on this blog or on the show, and I’m not going to start now. What Professor Warren is seeking to do is as bipartisan as it gets! Over the last couple of years, I have worked especially hard at educating others, particularly our young viewers, to not get caught up in the “easy credit” trap and, in turn, get seduced into spending beyond their means. We all have to take responsibility for our choices, but we deserve the straight facts too! That’s what Elizabeth wants to make happen.
Bottom line: I am a huge advocate of this new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. As Elizabeth reminded me just the other day, the bureau is not simply going be a watchdog on Wall Street’s titans; it will also be a watchdog on regular consumers, to help people avoid the kinds of mistakes that can result in financial ruin. Each of us is responsible for our own financial choices, and I am a firm believer that when someone chooses the conduct, they have chosen the consequences of that conduct. But we also deserve as much information as we can get to make good choices. And that is what I believe Elizabeth Warren is all about. She recently said to me, “This new agency is all about leveling the playing field a bit, giving people better tools and then holding them responsible — very much the sort of thing you’ve been doing across a broad range of issues for years.”
I appreciate her saying that. And I hope you will take advantage of what she’s done and is willing to do for all consumers. If you want to see exactly what the bureau will doing for us, you can go here.
I could not more strongly support Professor Warren’s appointment to head up this new bureau. But you don’t need me to tell you how to feel about her or the new Bureau. I encourage you to read about it and make up your own mind. I also hope you will write or e-mail your congressperson and tell him or her how you feel. Washington D.C. is always up to something, but this one counts! Whether Elizabeth gets the job or not, I can promise you she will keep pushing as hard as she can on consumer financial issues. She feels that we’re losing too many middle-class American families. I have to agree!
Tags: Elizabeth Warren, finance, politics