This website is no longer actively maintained
Some material and features may be unavailable

Jeff Madrick on the politics of protecting consumers

As currently designed, the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau will have broad powers to set rules for many types of lending in the U.S. — everything from mortgages and credit cards to payday loans and check cashing firms. The bureau was the brainchild of Elizabeth Warren, the former Harvard Law professor and longtime consumer-rights champion.

But from its inception, the bureau has been criticized by business groups and Republican leaders in Congress who argue that its powers are too broad, and that its potential regulations will be a drag on the economy. Earlier this year, 44 Republican senators sent President Obama a letter stating that if changes weren’t made, they’d refuse to confirm anyone to run the bureau, which would seriously hamper its enforcement ability. Nevertheless, in July, President Obama nominated Richard Cordray to head the new bureau. Cordray was the former attorney general of Ohio, and is well regarded by many consumer advocates, including Elizabeth Warren.

And Republican leaders said again that until their proposed reforms to the consumer bureau are made, they won’t confirm anyone for the job. To help wade through the politics of consumer protection, Need to Know’s Alison Stewart spoke with Jeff Madrick, a senior fellow at the Roosevelt Institute in New York. His most recent book is “Age of Greed: The Triumph of Finance and the Decline of America, 1970 to the Present.”

Neither a borrower, nor a lender

Watch the rest of the segments from this episode.

  • thumb
    Main Street: Findlay, Ohio
    Need to Know travels to Ohio to assess how workers are faring after the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs over the past 35 years.
  • thumb
    Following the money: Tax breaks
    New CBO report echoes the findings of Need to Know's "A tale or four tax returns."
  • thumb
      Certifiably employable
    Rick Karr recently visited Seattle to look at a program designed to give the unemployed the skills they need to find jobs in one of the country’s fastest-growing industries.