Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren

I guess I am a person who is easily swayed. My good friend Darlene told me about this book and how much she admired Senator Warren. For whatever reason, I had only a slight knowledge about her. I knew she had defeated Scott Brown to become a Senator for the State of Massachusetts. It was an uphill battle all the way. Scott Brown is a handsome, likable guy who was elected to finish the term of Ted Kennedy who died while in office. At the time it was the most expensive Senate race in the entire nation that year. She actually outraised Brown with $42 million to Brown’s $35 million. She claims that more than 80% of her contributions were for $50 or less. One very interesting piece of information was that Brown agreed shortly after campaigning began, that to reduce the outside funding groups that they would contribute ½ of the outside groups’ costs to charity. Surprisingly both sides kept their promise and hereby reduced the power of those groups. This book is a biography of her life. She grew up in Oklahoma in a working class family with a stay at home mother until it became necessary for her to also take an outside job. She was ambitious from the start encouraged by her father but not her mother. Those were still the days when women were expected to become wives and mothers while the men earned the paycheck and were active in politics, not unlike my own experience. My world was a man’s world whether serving in the Air Force, being an Engineering College student or working in a tire factory. It was during my final eight years in the workforce when I held a position with the State of Iowa that I began to work alongside and with women who were either in equal positions to my own or were managers and professionals in my Department. It was during those years that I began to become a women’s rights defender. She attained a college degree and later graduated from law school. She really enjoyed being a teacher. She has children, grandchildren, dogs and family just like most families. She was teaching bankruptcy law at Harvard when she was asked by Congressman Mike Synar to come to Washington to review bankruptcy laws and make recommendations. She did accept and worked on the Commission for two years. The effort was to help those in need. At the same time they published their recommendations a big bank coalition had persuaded members of Congress to introduce a bill to toughen the rules. In 1998 she met with Senator Ted Kennedy and was able to get him to commit to leading the fight. It became a draw when the bank bill stalled and could not get passed. In 2003 she and her daughter published a book entitled “The Two-Income Trap” which got a lot of attention The financial crisis hit hard in 2008. On 11/13/2008 she received a phone call from Senator Harry Read asking her to come to Washington to be part of a five person Congressional Oversight Panel (COP). The purpose was to oversee the disbursement of the $700 billion fund to bail out the financial system (TARP). In 2009 she began to create interest in a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a separate entity. It became part of the Dodd-Frank Act to attempt to prevent another financial meltdown as had occurred in 2008. It was finally enacted into law on July 21, 2010. She was invited to the signing ceremony. President Obama asked her to help in setting up the agency but could not put forth her name to head as she was considered toxic and could never be confirmed. She was able to do it and it grew to something worthwhile to protect consumers. After finishing reading this book I went to Google to find out more about her. There are many videos to choose from. The more I watched and listened, the more I grew to appreciate how special this lady is and how determined to help everyday Americans striving to achieve the American dream against a stacked deck. Just this week she was a leader in defeating President Obama’s request for authority to negotiate the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. She was publicly chastised by the President. He said she was wrong. The Democrats in the Senate wanted protection for American workers. All Republicans including McCain and Fleck voted for it, continuing their lack of concern for American workers. This agreement as presently written will, in my opinion, cost more American factory jobs creating more desperate cities’ like Detroit and Baltimore. NAFTA cost many American jobs. Those of you who shop regularly at Walmart will undoubtedly disagree with my statement. I hope she reconsiders and takes on Hillary in the race to the White House. She is an FDR type Democrat. Perhaps she could restore that party to the greatness it had in the days of FDR. Jack B. Walters Mat 13, 2015

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