How to Achieve Real, Populist Reform

This is a must read profile of Dr Elizabeth Warren, a genuine great American populist reformer (who happens to teach at Harvard -- I know, shocking.)

In Elizabeth Warren’s world, credit card contracts would be so simple a teenager could read and understand them in four minutes. Loans would be as easy to compare as toasters, and online credit scores would be free.

“We need a new model: If you can’t explain it, you can’t sell it,” said Warren, 60, a Harvard University law professor who is head of the Congressional Oversight Panel for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, in an interview.

The 1966 high school debate champion of Oklahoma may get what she wants. The House of Representatives will vote in December on her idea. She suggested a Financial Product Safety Commission in a 2007 article in the magazine Democracy. President Barack Obama proposed it to Congress in June as the Consumer Financial Protection Agency.

I urge you to read the whole thing. Her mind is so lively and so finely tuned to the real economic environment that I wish I could lock every Democrat in Washington in a room with her for as long as it takes to get them to hear what she is saying and learn how to think along these lines. She's one of the very few who articulates the kind of reform populism that makes sense to average citizens and which might keep the know-nothing Palinite freakshow from looking good to increasingly desperate, working people in this country.

Update: Here's some neat post partisan populism: The Ron Paul, Alan Grayson bill to audit the fed just passed through the committee. Baby steps, folks.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.