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Elizabeth Warren Redux

I am very disappointed with President Obama’s decision not to nominate Elizabeth Warren as head of the new consumer protection agency. She is one of the few people in Washington that I respect and trust. Obama’s decision to pass over her for one of the deputies she hired shows cowardice in the face of Republican opposition. To me, coming simultaneously with the fight over the debt ceiling and budget deficit, it illustrates the failure of the two party system.

I have seen in the news that Elizabeth Warren is considering a run for the Massachusetts Senate seat held by Scott Brown. I can’t imagine why a woman with her high moral character would want to join a corrupt, dysfunctional body like the US Senate, but she could only raise its standards. Nevertheless, she surely would have been more useful as head of the consumer agency.

The consensus seems to be that Congress will come up with some way to raise the debt ceiling, whether the minimalist Mitch McConnell approach to raise the ceiling but do nothing about the budget, or the gang of six maximalist approach to make huge modifications to the budget. Because I have no confidence in Congress, and because Congress has dithered until the last minute, I do not expect anything important to come out of this mess. I don’t see how it can reform Medicare, Social Security and the tax code in less than two weeks.

I am hopeful that the ceiling will be raised somehow so that the US does not default on its debt at the same time that Europe is facing much more substantive debt problems. Europe has to deal with the future of the entire Euro zone, while the US is tied up in knots over a simple procedural issue. But the two together could bring down the world economy, or at least transfer world leadership from the West to China.

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