Harvard Law School Professor Criticizes Bailout Plans

The Harvard Law School professor who heads the congressional panel that oversees the federal bailout said that the government has yet to lay out a sound plan for dealing with the financial crisis.

Professor Elizabeth Warren told The New York Times on Tuesday the government’s actions so far have lacked clarity and direction.

Warren said she believes that if need be, the government should not shy away from repairing individual families’ financial health.

“Household financial health is profoundly tied to the economic health of the nation. You cannot repair this economy if you can’t repair those families, and I’m not sure the people directing the bailout see that as their job,” she said in the article.

Warren did not return requests for further comment yesterday.

She said that flat wages, low savings, and high debt have left American households in financial limbo over the past few years.

Warren, who was appointed to the four-member oversight committee by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said that asking the right questions will be crucial to moving the economy out of the crisis.

“Our role is to make sure that the right questions are asked as early as possible,” Warren said of the part her panel for the oversight of the bailout plan should play.

“You can’t just say, ‘Credit isn’t moving through the system,’ ” she said. “You have to ask why.”

Warren noted the speed with which the economy tumbled into crisis and the degree to which lawmakers were caught off guard.

“There wasn’t time even to develop a coherent list of questions to ask Treasury about what it’s doing and what it plans to do—and whether either of those are likely to address what’s going wrong,” she said.

The panel will present the first stage of its findings to Congress on December 10th. According to Warren, the report will outline “the central questions that Treasury should be addressing as it spends the taxpayers’ money.”