By Simon Johnson
The next big political battle in Washington – after the budget debate is declared “over” – will likely feature the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, in particular the fight to determine whether Elizabeth Warren can become as the agency’s first official head.
But will this fight feature a classic left vs. right set-piece confirmation showdown in the Senate? Or it will it be resolved with cloaks and daggers closer to the White House – with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner managing to prevent Professor Warren’s nomination?
There is much to commend the left vs. right scenario. The Republicans, after all, want to argue that regulation is excessive in general and regulation of financial products is somewhere between unnecessary and dangerous for economic growth in particular. This theme came up during the Dodd-Frank legislative debate on financial reform last year but it was largely lost in the larger conversation.
Now Spencer Bachus, Republican chair of the House Financial Services Committee, has Elizabeth Warren firmly in his sights – with the mortgage settlement negotiations as the flashpoint. Continue reading