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Bruce Bialosky

Getting to Know Elizabeth Warren

There are many ways to get to know presidential candidates. Their personalities, their families, their policies or their plans (we know for certain Elizabeth Warren has plenty of those). How they will govern is something harder to determine with a truckload of candidates. But based on Ms. Warren’s history, we can get a sense of how she would operate if elected President.

In a detailed and sourced analysis of Ms. Warren’s history by Peter Suderman at Reason , understanding her mentality is made very clear.

Warren’s manner was illuminated in her first major foray into publication. This goes back to 1989 when she co-authored what has been characterized as a “pioneering study on consumer bankruptcy.” The only problem was the authors used flawed data to determine their conclusions. When called on it by a well-regarded expert who had provided funding for the study, Warren obfuscated and refused peer review. One could surmise she concluded that the ends justified the means.

The willingness of Warren to disregard peer commentary on her work was replicated again and again. Warren created a narrative she wished to maintain and if work upon review did not validate her narrative she was unwilling to alter her conclusions.

Warren repeatedly refused to implement criticism from highly-skilled members of her academic community. One is left to wonder her thoughts about some lesser elected official or bureaucrat if she were asked to tailor one of her many plans that would alter the plan’s end game.

The most prescient forewarning of how Ms. Warren sees government is her work on the forming the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). This entity was formed prior to Ms. Warren becoming well known to the world. She had not become a U.S. senator. There was limited visibility of her beyond government wonks and academics. She had written a book with her daughter entitled The Two Income Trap that had measurably raised her public persona.

Warren was significantly vested in the CFPB and it was her desire and the wish of her supporters that she would be the first to head this entity. The bureau came into existence as part of the Dodd-Frank bill which grew out of reforms following the 2008 financial upheaval. The bureau was not directly related to the crisis and was included in the bill as an opportunity to pass legislation that might not otherwise happen. As stated by Rahm Emanuel, President Obama’s then chief of staff, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”

There are two hallmark aspects of the CFPB which give you a glimpse into the mind of Warren as to how she wanted to run the bureau once passed by Congress. Neither of these aspects are common in American government yet were adopted anyway and have been questioned as to whether they are constitutional. First, funding for the entity is not part of the Congressional budget process or voted on by elected members annually like the rest of our government. Warren developed a unique funding source through the Federal Reserve which is out of oversight control by the Congress which is supposed to control all our federal government expenditures.

She also made the position of director a five-year term where the director cannot be fired at will. Thus, unlike every other agency and bureau, the President has zero control over the Director once he or she assumes office. Richard Cordray, who was appointed to this position when Warren could not get Senate confirmation had decided to step down. Mr. Cordray thought that he had the right to appoint his successor to fill the remainder of his term. When President Trump was elected, he stepped in and stopped that practice as one of the first battles his new administration encountered with the existing bureaucracy.

To recap, the bureau is completely outside the control of duly elected officials of our executive or legislative branches unlike any other government operation. Ms. Warren thought her mission with the CFPB was so important that no one should be able to challenge it. She was able to get a pliant Congress to pass this and a president to sign it into law.

The fundamental problem with the bureau that I have pointed out in previous columns is that the CFPB has no program to educate consumers. The entire idea of the bureau is that nameless and faceless bureaucrats in Washington will protect consumers from the evils of those financial companies and banks. Leave your thinking cap at home. As Suderman states about the series of plans promulgated by Warren’s campaign (acting more like a think tank) is that “the economy is fundamentally fixable – but only if Elizabeth Warren is manipulating all the levers of power.”

Warren pleads that she believes in the capitalist system as she chides all successful people for obviously taking advantage of the huddled masses because that is the only means by which they could have become so filthy rich. Then she offers another plan to oversee and control free enterprises through a centralized government controlled by Warren and her policy wonks in DC. That is not capitalism. At minimum, that is socialism leaning towards communism. Just saying you are a capitalist does not make you one when every action you take and every plan you lay belies that. Even if Bernie Sanders calls Warren a capitalist for his own political aspirations.

Many of Ms. Warren’s plans (50+ listed on her website at the time of publication) are questionable for their legality even though we can attribute some of them to electioneering with no governing intent. Her wealth tax is not just illegal; it is unconstitutional. She must know that, yet she continues discussing it.

You have gotten an excellent illustration of Senator Warren’s thinking once she released her plan to pay for her nationalized health insurance. It was met with resistance from a broad spectrum of the political world, but there are two things on which to focus. When she was asked about the fact that collapsing the private health insurance market would put approximately 1,000,000 people out of work she responded,” Some of the people currently working in health insurance will work in other parts of insurance. In life insurance, in auto insurance, in car insurance.” A fantasy she has that those people will easily transfer to working on other insurance lines and that there is a current need for 1,000,000 to enter those fields.

The other part of this like Senator Sanders she plans to expand the demand for medical services without increasing the supply of practitioners. No more doctors or nurses or nurse practitioners. How does that work? We don’t have enough trained medical personnel now and no one is addressing that.

Or there is Warren’s comment that she would be happy to meet with Bill Gates to explain her wealth tax to him. She actually believes one of the smartest people walking the planet does not understand her planned tax and how it would affect him exemplifying that she believes we are all her students and she needs to educate us. Once educated obviously we will accept her analysis and see she is right.

Warren has a multitude of plans that fit this description. It appears she plans to plow ahead with them regardless. Based on her history, if elected she would do such and ignore the analysis proven by others that her position does not stand up to scrutiny. As the saying goes, that’s the way she rolls.