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Who Are the "Others?"

Saturday, 31 July 2010 13:23

The WSJ has an article today about Senate Banking Committee Chairman Chris Dodd's efforts to promote FDIC Chair Sheila Bair as the head of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Near the end, it notes the support for Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren, the leading contender, but then tells readers that: "others worry that choosing someone seen as too activist—a charge leveled at Ms. Warren—could turn public sentiment against from the agency."

This naturally leads readers to wonder about the identity of these mysterious "others." Do they have names? Do they have specific positions relevant to this discussion (e.g. CEOs at Bank of America and Citigroup) or are they just a random cross-section of America?

And what does it mean that activism will "turn public sentiment from the agency?" It is believable that the financial industry will be upset about the agency if they block many of their initiatives, but do we really think this would spark a mass uprising?

If only we knew who these mysterious others are then we could ask them such questions. But as it stands --- it's all so mysterious.


Hat tip to Gary Therkildson.

Comments (4)Add Comment
300,000 Home Foreclosures a Month for 16 Consecutive Months
written by Union Member, July 31, 2010 1:58

Perhaps these are the anonymous "others" whose concerns the WSJ is trying to give voice to.
written by John Emerson, July 31, 2010 2:22
It's funny how often substantive issues are spoken of in terms of what public opinion is willing to accept, in the absence of any information as to what public opinio is willing to accept (or even in the presence of contrary information). Democrats and the media especially do it.

Long ago pol sci people split the science of getting elected ("politics of consent") from the science of governing, and now apparently the science of getting elected is thought to have swallowed up government. If you say "The stimulus is too small and won't work and the outcome will be disastrous" whoever you're talking to will just say "In today's political atmosphere that's the best that could be done".

It's bad enough that this kind of twisted approach to government is regarded as normal and has become dominant, but on top of that it's not even serious at it's own level. It's just the routine thing people say when pushing their agenda. It doesn't have much of anything to do with "What the people will accept".
written by izzatzo, July 31, 2010 2:53
Elizabeth Warren seen as "too activist" after $16T was lost in wealth and trillions more in lost output and jobs? That's like seeing Ken Salazar of the Interior Department as "too activist" for the job after a hundred oil spill accidents the size of the last one.

The "others" worried about "activists" include thousands of lobbyists representing the financial industry who of course, don't qualify as "activists" in any sense of the word.

After all, they have license to operate in cloaked secrecy with full access on demand to the pols, dictating the legislation, directing a massive public relations machine and, for example, setting up last minute ambush changes to bills just before passage, the latter based on sheer brute force designed to overcome, outnumber and eliminate exhausted "activist" opponents with 24/7 sniper-like precision.

No, these lobbyists aren't "activists". Instead they tow the line to the legal letter to achieve the highest form of democratic participation that can be bought in a closed, privileged market, the only kind of market they understand.

"Activist" is a degrading term applied by the ultra rich to those unable to buy their way into the inner circle, doomed to restrict their inquiries and complaints to a public process specifically designed to fail and render them useless beforehand.

"Activism" is a thousand blog posts, comments and emails a day, or even Elizabeth Warren speaking out in person somewhere, shed like so much annoying white noise as the doors to the corporate jet close and the real decision making begins there, ends there and stays there.
The Others
written by DHFabian, August 03, 2010 11:17
I think the mysterious "others" would be the editorial board of the WSJ.

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About Beat the Press

Dean Baker is co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington, D.C. He is the author of several books, his latest being The End of Loser Liberalism: Making Markets Progressive. Read more about Dean.