Born in June 1949 and raised in Oklahoma, Elizabeth Warren earned a B.S. from the University of Houston in 1970 and a J.D. from Rutgers Law School in 1976. She is currently the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, where she began teaching in 1992. Prior to joining Harvard, she taught law at the University of Pennsylvania, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, the University of Michigan, and Rutgers.
In 2007, Warren wrote a piece in the Harvard Law and Policy Review proposing the creation of a federally funded “Service Pays” program in which the government would “increase the amount students can borrow” for college loans, and would then “forgive students one year of college expenses for each year the student worked in public service after college.” This, Warren explained, would enable “typical students” to “begin adult life debt-free at twenty-six with a college diploma and four years of work experience.” Such an arrangement, she added, should also be extended to students who failed to graduate from college.
Warren envisioned Service Pays as “a reformed Peace Corps that would place young people with aid and development organizations around the world,” to assist with such tasks as “rebuilding after natural disasters”; “teaching English”; “improving water usage”; teaching math and science in “urban and rural schools with a substantial minority or lower-income student body”; running “after-school tutoring programs”; “clean[ing] up public buildings and parks”; “rebuild[ing] roads and bridges;” “improv[ing] the environment”; and “organiz[ing] communities to reduce crime and develop the local economy.” Added Warren: “Non-profit organizations that want to participate in Service Pays could apply to the program and be considered on the same basis that AmeriCorps currently uses: ‘Direct service activities must address local environmental, educational, public safety,… or other human needs.” Critics of Warren’s proposal observed that it had the potential to be used as a means of assigning young adults to work with leftwing organizations that would indoctrinate them to a particular political viewpoint.
Also in 2007, Warren began to advocate for the creation of a federal agency – modeled on the Consumer Product Safety Commission – to protect the public from “over-priced credit products, risky subprime mortgages, and misleading insurance plans.” She called for greater “regulation” by the government to counter the devious tactics of “lenders [who] have deliberately built tricks and traps into some credit products so they can ensnare families in a cycle of high-cost debt.”
In the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, Senator Harry Reid appointed Warren to chair the Congressional Oversight Panel that Congress had created to monitor the effectiveness of the $700 billion Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), which was designed to bail out failing U.S. financial institutions; Warren’s duty was to report regularly to Congress on whether TARP funds were being used “in the best interest of the American people.”
In a September 2008 article titled “Who Will Bail out American Families?” Warren recommended that just as the federal government had bailed out failing U.S. banks, the AIG insurance company, and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, it should likewise bail out American families facing bankruptcy.
In 2009 Warren co-authored an article asserting that some 62.1% of all U.S. bankruptcies were the result of medical expenses that people could not afford – supposedly a 49.6% rise over 2001 bankruptcy levels. Emphasizing that few Americans were immune from the possibility of becoming insolvent, the authors noted that “most medical debtors were well educated, owned homes, and had middle-class occupations”; moreover, “three quarters had health insurance.” Megan McArdle, the business and economics editor for The Atlantic, subsequently pointed out that this study was statistically flawed, and that no rise in medical-related bankruptcies had in fact occurred.
In March 2010, Warren addressed a conference that also featured billionaire financier George Soros as a guest speaker. In her talk, she emphasized the need to shorten and simplify such documents as credit card, mortgage, and car-loan agreements – so that people could no longer be “tricked and trapped into paying what [they] didn’t bargain for.”
In July 2010, Warren spoke at an East Hampton, New York event on the topic of “Restoring the Integrity of the U.S. Financial Markets.” Fellow panelists included George Soros and Van Jones. That same month, Warren spoke at a Netroots Nation conference on the topic of “Building a Progressive Economic Vision.”
Between 2007 and 2010, Warren’s idea of establishing a federal agency to protect financial-product consumers found considerable support in Congress and culminated in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) being incorporated into a financial regulatory reform bill that was passed in summer 2010. In the summer of that year, Senator Tom Harkin circulated a petition advocating that Warren be named as Director of the new CFPB.
On September 17, 2010, President Barack Obama appointed Warren to be his special assistant in charge of organizing and establishing the CFPB; in this role, Warren would also serve as a special advisor to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.
Source: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=2491 (16 July, 2011)
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