President Obama is reportedly considering whether to nominate Harvard law professor Elizabeth Warren to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Agency created by the new financial regulatory reform bill. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is reportedly opposed, and some Senate Democrats wonder whether she could be successfully confirmed. UT’s Sandy Levinson thinks this decision is an “acid-test” for the Administration: “ Both crass politics and the public interest make Elizabeth Warren the right person at the right time.” Megan McArdle, on the other hand, reviews some of Warren’s scholarship, and is concerned.
If this is how she evaluates data, then isn’t that going to hamper her in making good policy? If we’re going to have a consumer financial protection agency, I want one that has a keen eye to the empirical evidence on consumer welfare–not one that makes progressives most happy by reinforcing their prior beliefs.
UPDATE: Professor Bainbridge surveys the landscape and concludes that “whether Warren gets the job or not won’t matter ten years from now.”