Economic disparity evident in Wall Street bonuses, Warren says

Seeing Wall Street bankers bring home sizable bonuses while the rest of the country struggles economically "staggers" Elizabeth Warren, the president's adviser charged with setting up the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Warren said the disparity indicates "we still have a problem."

"I just don't have words to describe what this means," Warren said in a interview for Bloomberg Television's "Conservations with Judy Woodruff" that aired this weekend. "It isn't meaningful to talk about profits and a growing economy until American families are stabilized."

"For me, what an economic recovery is about is about what happens to American families. It’s what happens in the real economy," she added. "It’s whether or not families are building up wealth in their homes or whether or not their homes are dragging them over an economic cliff."


Warren's comments come as work is underway to establish the new CFPB, which was created by the Dodd-Frank Act.

Bonuses to Wall Street bankers are expected to rise about 5 percent this year, according to a survey by compensation consultants Johnson Associates Inc.

The Harvard law professor in September was named the assistant to the president and special adviser to the Secretary of the Treasury on the bureau.

She has vowed that the bureau will work to fundamentally reform the consumer credit market and make financial products easier to understand. Her ultimate goal, she said, is to ensure consumers can easily and readily compare financial products by forcing fees and prices to be disclosed up front.

However, she warns that the CFPB still faces stringent opposition, both from Republicans and industry groups.

"We didn’t get this agency because there was $100 million of lobbying money in favor of it. In fact, the lobbying money, the big dollars, were against this agency," she said in the interview. “We got this agency because the American people want it, and they want a voice in Washington. ... And that’s what I’m here to do.”

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