Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Liz Warren Gets The Win...Maybe

The battle over Deputy Treasury Secretary Antonia Weiss is over, and Liz Warren has prevailed over the Obama administration. Weiss has withdrawn his name from consideration.  Chuck Pierce:

This, of course, is the handiwork of Senator Professor Warren, who put together a coalition against Weiss's nomination that ran from, well, her, all the way over to Joe Manchin (D-Bituminous) that fought Weiss's nomination. Weiss will get some job at the Treasury that doesn't require him to go through that pesky confirmation process in which he would have to explain how getting $20 mil from his current employers just for taking a government job isn't merely a pro-active Too bad. I was looking forward to how he would explain that one to the Senator Professor.

Already, of course, the financial press is agog at the whole notion that the Senator Professor actually would do what she said she would do. This kind of thing makes for a nice "narrative," but trying to break the grip of the financial-service industrial complex over the institutions that are supposed to regulate it, well, my dear Ms. Warren, this simply is not done. 
Most of Weiss' banking experience is in international mergers and acquisitions, and he spent much of his career overseas. As Treasury undersecretary for domestic finance, he would have been responsible for decisions on national debt, consumer policy, and Treasury stability. A number of former Treasury officials thought Warren was way out of line, and that Weiss' experience was perfect for the position he was being nominated for.

Here's the "number of Treasury officials" who thought the Senator Professor was "out of line." Two of them worked for the Avignon Presidency, whose stewardship of the national economy you may remember from the days when you were sleeping in a van down by the river. The point of opposing Weiss was to demonstrate clearly that the interests of the financial-services industrial complex, and the interests of the political entity known as the United States of America, are not always in line with each other, and that the former has to be accountable -- seriously accountable -- to the latter, as inconvenient as that may be to people like Antonio Weiss who, I assure you, will be doing just fine. This also is not merely a symbolic victory. This is a demonstration that business is not as usual any more. There are serious policy implications to that simple fact.

The fact is Liz Warren walked up to President Obama, told him to go to hell, and followed through.  This nomination wasn't sunk by the GOP.  It was sunk by Liz Warren, period.

Say what you will about party loyalty.  She picked her fight and won, which is more than I can say for basically any other Democrat in Congress in the last two years.

Having said that, the key is to look what happens next.  Weiss will still end up in Treasury, his replacement will still be somebody from Wall Street, but Liz Warren already made her point.  It's a win for Weiss, for President Obama, and for Sen. Warren.

For us, eh.  Not so much.

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