June 17, 2009

It's just another day here in the Obama Whiplash Derby, in which I'm either saying, "God, I can't believe I voted for this guy!" or "Wow, great idea!" - sometimes within the same five minutes. (Boy, does my neck hurt.)

Of course, we have to see what's in the final legislation, but this is one of those good ideas:

WASHINGTON — Among the sweeping changes in government regulation that President Barack Obama will propose Wednesday is the creation of an independent and powerful Consumer Financial Product Safety Commission to regulate financial products such as mortgages and credit cards.

With an eye toward protecting consumers and ordinary investors, the Federal Reserve and other bank regulators would lose their oversight over mortgages, credit cards and other financial products that are sold to consumers. It's a radical shift in approach and a tacit acknowledgment of federal failure.

"Lets face it, the (Federal Reserve Board) has had the power to engage in aggressive consumer regulation at least since 1994," Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren, who chairs the Congressional Oversight Panel, which oversees how Wall Street bailout money is being spent, told McClatchy in an interview. "They clearly had the power to stop the mortgage crisis before it started. And what did they do with that power? Nothing."

Warren's view was echoed by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., the chairman of the influential House Financial Services Committee, which will write the legislation to implement and perhaps build on Obama's proposals.

"We definitely should take consumer protection away from the Fed," Frank said.

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