Nightly News | September 17, 2010
WILLIAMS: And with that as the setup, shortly after she appeared with the president in the Rose Garden this afternoon, Professor Elizabeth Warren joined us from Washington . Professor Warren , it is said that you're not being appointed to the job we all expected you to be appointed to because of the opposition that the banks and the Wall Streeters would have pitched, threatening Senate confirmation . The first question is, why not take that fight to the floor of the Senate ? Why not have that conversation so people can see it and hear it?
Prof. WARREN: Well, you know, I have to say, I've never walked away from a fight in my life; you can ask think three older brothers about that. But the point is, the time spent fighting is the time not spent doing the actual work of this agency. Right now millions of American families across this country are hemorrhaging money on credit card tricks and traps, on mortgages that are deceptive, on check overdraft, on car loans. I mean, how long do we want to go on this list? And at some point, we got to get this agency stood up. The law that Congress passed is very clear. It says get to work standing the agency up. President asked me to do that, and that's what I'm here to try to do.
WILLIAMS: Can you give me anything concrete that people hearing you tonight can hold onto, areas in which their lives will become better because of your service?
Prof. WARREN: Well, one of the things I want to be able to work on, I hope right away, is I want to work on credit cards that people can actually read. I mean, I've -- my dream is the two-page credit card agreement where you can see the terms, where you can compare one with another with another and know how much they cost and make real comparisons. You know, I think most people are smart, but the way that some of these credit products have been designed, like credit cards , it's to trick people, it's to trap them. We got to take that out of the system. We got to make it so that families, they can see what they got, they can see what it cost. Lot of personal responsibility.
WILLIAMS: If the job you were being appointed to today was either president or monarch and it were truly up to you to go about fixing this economy, what would you do ?
Prof. WARREN: You know, I'd move toward products that are much simpler and that just make the cost clear up front. I'm tired of this game that says, 'Oh, we're going to lend you something at, you know, 3.9 percent financing, 0 percent financing. We're going to give you cash, when the reality is what we're really doing here is we're trying to buy a lottery ticket, hoping you'll mess something up and, boy, we're going to hit it big on the money.' That's not a real market. And people know that. People expect to have to pay for what they get. They expect to have to be responsible. But they don't expect that they're carrying around, you know, a loaded weapon in their pockets that may fire and shoot them at any point. So, you know, if somebody left me in charge, it would -- it would just be to kind of level the playing field so both sides, the lender and the borrower, can see what the terms are, evaluate them, and go from there.
WILLIAMS: Part of our conversation earlier with Elizabeth Warren , the newly minted assistant to the president .