A New Hero!

I apologize to readers for continuing to circle back to the question of the types of people we revere as heroes. But I have always thought, since I first read Homer’s Iliad, that the heroes a culture admires tell us a great deal about that culture and the values it holds dear. My most recent blogs were about the sad examples of Michael Jordan who seems to be totally self-involved, and the group that picketed after the death of the renegade cop, who seem to be simply misguided. In both cases, it seemed to me, we had examples of types of persons who are hardly admirable, much less heroic.

220px-Elizabeth_Warren_CFPB1

But I have found a person who is worthy of the title of “hero.” It is Elizabeth Warren, a first-term Senator from Massachusetts who is not only sharp but also a woman of principle who seems willing to take on the powers that be. She is like a breath of fresh air in Washington – the city of stale air and an excess of money and lazy self-interest. A recent story that has gone “viral” on You-Tube shows Senator Warren taking on bank regulators over the issue of penalties for ripping off the public. You remember: the banks are the types this government bailed out recently with a slap on the wrist. They apparently paid their fines with some of the $700 billion they received from the government to help bail them out of the difficulties they got themselves into. Iceland, in contrast, simply let their failed banks go under and the government bailed out the investors. And their economy at present is in fine shape, thank you very much.

In any event, a recent story and film clip on the internet show Senator Warren making fools of the bank examiners as  the following exchange makes clear:

“We do not have to bring people to trial,” Thomas Curry, head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, assured Warren, declaring that his agency had secured a large number of “consent orders,” or settlements.

“I appreciate that you say you don’t have to bring them to trial. My question is, when did you bring them to trial?” she responded.

“We have not had to do it as a practical matter to achieve our supervisory goals,” Curry offered.

Warren turned to Elisse Walter, chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, who said that the agency weighs how much it can extract from a bank without taking it to court against the cost of going to trial.

“I appreciate that. That’s what everybody does,” said Warren, a former Harvard law professor. “Can you identify the last time when you took the Wall Street banks to trial?”

“I will have to get back to you with specific information,” Walter said as the audience tittered. . . .

[Warren concluded the exchange by noting that,] “There are district attorneys and United States attorneys out there every day squeezing ordinary citizens on sometimes very thin grounds and taking them to trial in order to make an example, as they put it. I’m really concerned that ‘too big to fail’ has become ‘too big for trial,'”

If you haven’t seen the video, you owe it to yourself to check it out (here). Warren is relentless. All she needs is a white charger or a cape and her image would be complete. The bank examiners look very uncomfortable and, try as they will, they are unable to prevaricate, a dodge they are very skilled at.  It will be very interesting to see if Senator Warren is able to have a major impact in a city that seems to swallow up principled politicians. In the meantime, I simply say: Go Elizabeth!!

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8 thoughts on “A New Hero!

  1. I agree about Warren, and always thought it was a major sign of Obama’s spinelessness when he did not put her forth as the director of the Consumer Protection Agency. Ironically, she likely will be more effective on the Senate Banking Committee.

    I might also submit Sheila Bair, former head of the FDIC, for a hero’s medal. She took on Geithner and his banking buddy cronyism with the NY Banks. Though in the end not as successful as she would have liked, and we citizens needed, she was outspoken against the big banks.

  2. You hit a home run Hugh. I have been a big fan of Warren’s ever since I first saw her on Bill Maher’s show. The reason the GOP congressmen did not want her in the Consumer Protection Agency director chair is she expects bankers to be fair and ethical and calls them on the carpet when they aren’t. Great post about a disserving heroine. BTG

    • Yes, apparently Wall Street worked hard to make sure she didn’t get named to that committee. She could be a real force for good.

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  3. Hurray for Elizabeth Warren. Not to forget, the entire Illiad is singing to the glory of Achilleus, a vain, self-involved, brooding stong-man, who happens to be well-connected with the gods. So much for heroes. To quote Sly Stone (no hero) “Everybody is a star”. Up the people!

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