Friday, November 9, 2012

Two other winners from the US election

Barack Obama won the re-election as US President, and the world is relieved by that (by the way, it's interesting that outside the US, many people supporting right wing causes such as the secession of rich regions under the leadership of right-wing corrupt elites, try to clean their reputation or their remorses by making sure that everybody knows that they would have supported Obama -what is the word to qualify this behavior?). But there are two other winners that deserve attention for social scientists.
One is Nate Silver, author of the Five Thirty Eight blog, who has a model to predict electoral results that correctly forecasted the result state by state. Now it's easy to praise Nate Silver, but I can because I did it in advance. I'm now reading his book "The Signal and the Noise", which has implications that go much beyond politics (more on it when I finish reading).
The other is Elizabeth Warren, the new senator for Massachusetts. This is good news for consumers, as Simon Johnson reminds us. As can be read in Wikipedia, Warren has long advocated the creation of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau was established by the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law by President Obama in July 2010. For the first year after the bill's signing, Warren worked on implementation of the bureau as a Special Assistant to the President in anticipation of the agency's formal opening. While liberal groups and consumer advocacy groups pushed for Obama to nominate Warren as the agency's permanent director, Warren was strongly opposed by financial institutions which had criticized Warren as overly aggressive in pursuing regulations, and by the Republican members of Congress. In January 2012, over the objections of Republican senators, President Obama appointed former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the Bureau's director in a "recess appointment".

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