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Published: Saturday, 9/18/2010

Wise move on Warren

American consumers who are grappling with financial miseries, from unaffordable mortgages to credit-card debt, have a strong new ally in the Obama Administration. Late last week, Elizabeth Warren agreed to oversee the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Ms. Warren, a professor at Harvard's law school, was the leading proponent of the bureau when Congress debated and enacted financial reform legislation this year. President Obama named her his assistant, rather than subject her to a long, politicized confirmation process in the Senate.

The bureau has the authority to impose rules governing mortgages, credit cards, and other consumer credit products. Supporters of Ms. Warren, who headed a panel that reviewed how federal bank-bailout money was spent, lobbied the President to name her bureau director instead of to an advisory post.

But Ms. Warren, one of the nation's leading authorities on bankruptcy law, has not endeared herself to financial institutions or their Senate allies with her attacks on abusive, deceptive, and unfair lending practices. So Mr. Obama, believing it imperative that Ms. Warren begin to organize the bureau promptly, gave her a different title.

The nomenclature is less important than Ms. Warren's ability to help consumers in economic pain. Ms. Warren is ideally suited for the job she helped create. The Obama Administration has made a wise move.

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