Marketplace Scratch Pad

Banks: Like fragile little girls

Scott Jagow Feb 22, 2010

To buttress the point in my last post about the inability of Congress to accomplish anything, let’s hear from Elizabeth Warren, head of the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP. Six months ago, she appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher”, where she said Congress was on the “brink of financial reform.” Well, she’s back in the most recent episode of the show, and guess what she’s saying now?

WARREN: I really thought when I was hear the last time you and I talked, that we were on the brink of real financial reform. That we were going to change the system, we were going to have a consumer agency to make sure that we kind of rolled back the crazy abuses and the tricks and the traps…

MAHER: You thought that? What do you smoke before the show?

WARREN: The reason that we aren’t changing things right now is that the banks have lobbyists in Washington in numbers I’ve never seen. (Applause) They’re coming not just once a month, once a week or even once a day. These guys are coming in two and three and four times a day. They’re making phone calls. They’ve got their position papers. And they just keep slamming in the same direction over and over. And people who just want to advocate for American families, people who want some changes, who want to level the playing field, they don’t have that kind of lobbying power.

Another funny from Maher:

MAHER: It always seems that we need the banks’ permission to reform. We just can’t do something because they’re so fragile. Isn’t that the way it strikes you? They’re very emotional. They’re like a girl with low self-esteem. That’s what this economy reminds me of. It’s okay now, but if we say you’re ugly, she’s just gonna…

Later on, Warren talks about the credit card reform measures that take effect today. She says of the 10 major practices that were banned, the credit card companies have already figured 8 new devices for getting around the laws.

To which Maher replies: “It just sucks. The whole country just sucks.”


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