tv To the Contrary With Bonnie Erbe WHUT May 1, 2010 10:30am-11:00am EDT
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and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional founding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. >> this week on "to the contrary" financial reforms family ties. then, mother justice, supreme court need another mother on the bench? behind the headlines, realistic images of women in the media. >> hello, i'm bonnie erbe. welcome to "to the contrary," a discussion of news and social trends from diverse perspectives. up first: wall street or main street?
are republicans and moderate democrats in congress favoring banks ahead of working families? harvard law professor, bankruptcy expert, and consumer advocate, elizabeth warren thinks so. warren says opposition to the senate financial reform bill in particular the portion calling for the creation of a consumer agency proves senators didn't learn much from the recent financial crisis. this bill would create an independent consumer agency to protect borrowers from many of the lending practices that spawned the debt crisis. they include subprime mortgages and credit-default swaps. republicans favor an agency run by bank regulators, a big mistake in the eyes of critics who say regulators always rule for the banks and against consumers. with mid-term elections around the corner, members of both parties are eager to champion financial reform: so, congresswoman norton, who is
for the consumers and who is for the bank? >> you know them by their vote. the republicans just spent a week blocking a vote on a bill to rein in the big banks. >> the principals of disclosure and competition those will protect the consumer. the idea of big government will not protect anything. >> republicans and a few pro banks, bank friendly democrats, too. seem to be more concerned with protecting the banks. >> nobody is for the little guy. with the proposed legislation they're talking this consumer agency going to affect every single decision working families have to make and affect where they don't want to be affected. >> let's get to the bottom of this. really, even mortgages, so-called no doc loans then repackaging these knowingly bad mortgages and selling them as commodities on the exchanges, that's where the problem lay. what is any bill that's being
considered now, congresswoman norton, going to stop that behavior? >> well, there's some focus on the consumer regulatory part of this. we want to protect the people on main street first and foremost. this bill has lots of stuff including reining in the derivatives. during the time that this bill was riding to the floor, mr. mcconnell took the -- >> senate minority leader. >> took the senator who heads the fundraising for the senate this year, for the rep -- excuse me -- to a meeting with wall street. why did he take this fundraising senator with him? they're trying to make a deal straight out and apparently, i must say, with the banks before the vote comes. they have always been on the side of the banks and no less
now. what they're trying to do is to weaken the bill. and the first thing you do is weaken the consumer part of the bill and make sure it's put under the fed which regulates the bank. that is putting the consumer right in bed with the banks -- >> no. >> let's talk about what happened here. first of all as you said, karen, you would agree with this, there's a lot going on in this bill. and what they really want to do is take it piece by piece. it wasn't just one -- hold on -- it wasn't one thing that -- one thing that -- let's talk about the situation what they want to do. the problem isn't adjustable mortgages. the problem isn't whether everybody ought to be on 30-year fixed rate loan. we ought to have -- people have different needs and -- you have this consumer protection agency they're talking about they're coming in -- everybody ought to be doing this because this is the kind of mortgage that will be good for everybody else. frankly you aren't smart enough to figure it -- let me finish -- figure it out.
reality is anybody who looked at the disclosure also time they bought a house it is hard to figure out what it is going on in there. we ought to be clarifying that, making it easier for people to see, if you sign up for this kind of loan, here is a different pieces that you need to know about that. if you sign up for the situation, here is a different kind of -- >> who is going to be charge of making sure that transparency exists. the banks or an independent consumer agency responsible to nobody -- >> what is a consumer agency that we're stalking about run by the federal government? >> how can you not be for clamping down on predatory loans? >> i'm not saying there is -- >> but you don't punish everybody in saying, everybody wasn't defrauded. reality is you ought to punish fraud but you don't do that by saying we're willing willing go to basically limit everybody's choice here what -- >> where did you get that from? >> read the bill. >> they are against capping crazy fees for atms. this is a pro bank group. >> here is the problem.
the banks acted badly. the regulate he were asleep. what do you do? the pages of l bill there's a new goody for somebody in there going to clamp down on people. anybody who makes installment payments to your orthodontist, educational institution, paying college loans, anybody with four or more payments will be subject to this agency and government scrutiny. i don't know if i put something on lay away at tj maxx i don't think the government needs to be involved if i pay it in four or five or -- >> here is what i want to know. why is nobody talking about reinstateing glass, which was put in to affect after the depression which said, banks cannot invest in wall street. and it was after 70 years of lobbying by the bank and in the '90s i believe it was, right, it was repealed. >> right. >> here we are with a financial disaster. >> because the banks are keeping
it from happening. the banks have bought enough senators, all the republicans and enough democrats -- >> nothing to do with our monetary policy going up and down all over the place -- wait -- >> wait! >> one at a time! >> consumer protection agency -- >> the senate to a very bad place for money. in fact -- >> amen. >> in fact you got elected senators because the senate when they were appoint with such a corrupt body, a lot of that has moved in to the senate now. and what we are having, i will concede that there are certainly democrats in this group. but you have mcconnell leading the group in bed with a bank and leading the movement against consumer protection. >> a quick response then i want to hear from karen. >> i think this idea of consumer response is two ways to protect
consumer a market-based way then more regulation type of way. let's just be clear which road we're trying to go down. the bill that we're talking about here this is about regulation. it's about coming in, limiting choices, the government is going to -- like health care. the government is going to decide what kind of health care option you get now what kind ever loans and other credit services you get. i don't think most people think when the government shows up, i'm here to help that's the best way to go. >> two quick points, mr. mccobble hasn't had criticism because they are administration that met with the banking folks that is -- it is a bipartisan problem. second thing you look at the money poured in to politics you are right. financial services ask the top of the list, donating to every person that's going to help them with the laws and regulations. it's a huge issue. >> the last word. >> when i hear mr. mcconnell saying he fears over regulation, i would laugh if it weren't so sad. i wish we had a little regulation that might have kept us from getting where we are today. >> this was regulation free zone, the consumer paid the
price. >> all right from, family finance to mother justice. as president obama considers potential nominees to replace retiring supreme court justice john paul stevens, some say he should choose not only a woman but one with children. one top contender is judge diane wood from chicago, she has three children and three stepchildren. supporters say wood would be a role model for the work-family balance and would have experiences the 20% of american women who are child free have not experienced, trying to juggle work and family. others see the support for a mother versus a woman as yet another wedge between mothers and child-free women. wood would not be the first mother on the high court. two out of the three women to serve on the supreme court thus far are mothers. does the supreme court need another mother? >> we all need a mother.
no i i think this is silly. when i was reading this piece, i thought, does this guy -- the writer himself take this seriously or is he just trying to be provocative? he was saying, you know, any father who has ever seen his girl gaze lovingly at barbie knows the importance of a role model. it sounded like he was making ruth baber ginsberg seem like dr. barbie. my night alluring dates. if we cannot say that being a mother can't keep you out of any job, we also can't say that that makes you better qualified far any job. >> i thought this was a silly article, same point -- >> we're talking about an article on dailybeast.com. >> interestingly enough, women do have these conversations, people do have them at the water cooler is who is suitable to what different type of job colorado care if the person is a mother, i don't care -- it doesn't matter as long as they're competent, good track record and good judgment to be on the court. >> i would agree with that. that is the threshold
qualification. but i think the president is on to something with a different kind of diversity. you got a court full of people who have done nothing but serve as judges. we seek people who of ha had some experience in the real world where we are. and that means somebody who has had to raise a family, so be it. i wouldn't want to be in the business of saying, how many children do you have before i'm sure that you are qualified to be considered for the supreme court. but i am worried about -- i'm not nearly as worried, for example, about the fact that we have no protestants on the court. >> that worries me to death. >> some of us who are pro choice get a little -- but that's -- it does show that you religion has not -- is no long hear it was in american life if you had to have jews, protestants, you were worried about catholics. but i am worried about having
people who spent their entire career on the district court, the court of appeals, now on the supreme court all of those are very cloistered places in our society. >> i would be very -- what's the real world. people might have been judges by day in the district court but they had families. this won't be the first mother whoever sat up there. not like they don't face real world dilemmas of buying house, dealing with education and fights with their spouse. these people live in the real world. i think we need to be looking for people who have the right competency and experience for these roles, that is o means, where is your experience in the field which we're hiring you to take the place. i think -- i'm not saying it has to be somebody that's been a district court but i don't think that should be a strike against them. >> i think it's interesting what you say about diversity of experience as opposed to -- i'd like to see another woman on the court assume she had the right credentials. but the the diversity of background is important to understand other people's perspective who might be before the courts. it is an interesting way to look at it. but again typically the
traditional career path has been all those different levels before you make it to the court. hard to -- >> let me ask two-sided question here. first of all, seems to me that the idea of putting a mother versus a woman on the court is designed to drive a wedge between -- >> secondly, why would a -- they don't talk that way about men, exactly. >> that's right. >> it's not like most women on the court haven't been -- >> child free as they call it. >> butut other two women weren't. i'm not sure what the controversy is. >> raised her children then went back to law. >> one point that this article made, though, that is true, i think is that these justices just like all men in high places get so much credit, the men do, for attending their child's
birthday party, wow, that is inspiring. for being there at certain moments of their child's lives. >> doesn't the fact that in addition we pointed out in the set-up piece, 20% of -- that only 20% of top level government officials are female. and a lot of them are child free. what should the message here be to women who try to combine career and family. you can't do it? you can't do it as well? or you damn well get your husband to do half of the child care in the -- >> well that's an ongoing debate we've had on this show. but i'm empty hour it's debate we ought to be having and select supreme court justice. >> that's a whole different message. >> this is the most qualified person. >> that's right. >> other than that i'm not sure -- >> that doesn't get us very far. you know why? we have this pool of very qualified people. you have to look beyond that to make your choice. nobody is going to be put up there who isn't qualified.
i think it really does matter, you're right about the wedge. >> let me ask you on the -- >> but the points against -- >> nobody is going to be -- >> nobody can can heard. >> quickly. >> i don't think we're in disagreement here. i think the reason that these top women have had their children and gone, they were in fact working with their children when they were young. but when you get to the supreme court level, you have to have been in the field to have a lot of experience, lot of reputation, at that point your children are going to be grown. >> i was just going to say, i think qualifications and experience absolutely does matter. i want a doctor who has been a good doctor in the medical field not off -- i also flipped burgers and did this. are you a good medical doctor. we got to be asking these questions of people going to the supreme court. >> behind the headlines: young women and body image. today's high-tech teens are constantly bombarded with conflicting images of how women
should look and behave. this leaves some worrying about the effect of media portrayals of women on girls' self-esteem. one such person is west virginia republican, shelley moore capito who serves in congress: >> i think many things are glamourized and they're not actual portrayals of what women actually look like. i think this a lot of the media, sexualized a lot of the visions or the visuals of women in the media. i think really what we're looking for is the balanced approach here where young women can feel good about themselves and realize that they really are in the mainstream. >> working with democrat, tammy baldwin of wisconsin, capifo introduced the bipartisan healthy media for youth act. >> this ledge takes takes a three-pronged approach to the
issue. education, research, advocacy. we want young people to be media literate. to understand that sometimes they're looking at an unrealistic issue, something that has been photo shopped or highly distorted. also want to research this topic because we know that sometimes these images have dire consequences. we've seen the serious consequences of young people with eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia, nun people who are constantly dieting trying to aspire to a body image that is idealized in the media. and lastly, we have an advocacy role in this bill to hold out voluntary standards for the media, to say we want images of girls and young women that aren't stereotypical, that allow young women to develop positive
self-esteem. >> and for me it's a personal issue, having a daughter who is now 24, watching her and her friends go through those periods of uncertainty with the way they look and when, to me, they look just great. >> a recent survey by the girl scout presearch institute finds nine in ten girls believe the fashion industry and the media place pressure on teenage girls to be thin. while nearly half, 48%, of girls surveyed say fashion magazines influence their body images, 65% believe the body image represented by the fashion industry is too thin. >> you look back at the paintings you know in the 1800s and women were, a lot of times, unclothed and very voluptuous bodies and maybe that was the image that was the preferred image of the day, but unfortunately the image of the day today is very thin, very hard to attain body figure you
know matter what your body type is like. and i think with the available tools that, that are available on the computer and you can take all the blemishes out, and all the cellulite off and all the things that we consider to be negatives about us, you can portray women as almost looking perfect. >> overseas, there's been talk of regulating edited magazine images. lawmakers in france and great britain have proposed legislation that would require advertisers to include a disclaimer on any fashion ads where women have been airbrushed and digitally altered. but capito and baldwin don't believe a mandate is necessary in the u.s. >> if it's voluntary, would anyone put it on there, probably not. but i think what they might be encouraged more to do is to make more accurate portrayals with the visuals in the media, where maybe you're featuring different racial types, different hair
types, different body types to, you know, present a more accurate picture of the american woman. >> which will go a long way in helping boys as well. >> when you have stereotypical images in media, it affects relationships between young women and young men. when you have unrealistic stereotypes and body images and relationships when women are in passive roles in the media, you are creating expectations out there that just aren't real. >> some people might ask, i think, why would congress want to get involved with something like this. i think it's important because we have a voice, that is a unique voice. we're able to express our opinions and shine a light on topics and i think this is something that we need to talk about. would voluntary regulations be
enough to get the producers of this -- these images of women that are so far fetched, they're not even appealing like the ralph lauren ad that we showed just a moment ago, she looks sick and unappealing. the way they photo shopped her. >> no. simple answer, no. i -- having said that i still take issue with the fact that you have to have an act of congress to force people or voluntarily ask people to do the right thing. this is where i want to know, where are the women in the feminist movement to say, we've had enough, we're not going to buy your materials or patronize you any more, i think it's hard to do but needs to be a public campaign more so than act of congress otherwise nothing will really happen. >> i think that is happening more. i mean, you see michelle obama certainly out leading that parade talking about healthy eating and i think that she is an example about that. that's right. some of the -- when they talk about negative body image and
low self-esteem about that, i just see such different examples of that, having two middle schoolers myself, i mean, there were girls in my kids' middle school involved in a sexing scandal for distributing topless photos of themselves that's another kind of low self-esteem. >> it's the same thing. because they look at bodies -- think this is attractive. >> another way that that expresses itself. >> the point karen was making is important one to nail down, this isn't really regulation. this is about partisan, two good colleagues, one republican, one democrat they recognize the free speech implications here, by the way in britain and france saying photo shop stuff you can't do, they don't have the same kind of free speech we do. >> they also have much lower problem with obesity, with anorexia and bulimia and teen suicide. >> they have less of that. but what this bill does is quite
benign. it trains, it's basic or no regulation at all. you can apply for grants to help sensitize and train -- so, that they know how to look at the ads about themselves and for financy look at all kinds, has more research, it's so benign. >> only way that you make anybody a smart consumer whether it's for their bank loans or whether it's what they buy, you got to bring the right values to it. at the end of the day it comes back to what is the family and the community around instilling in our young people as far as values go. it's not about how great is your body, its of it should be a healthy body, yes, not how great do i look. that's not the point. >> that's it for this edition of to the contrary.
next week we profile a mother of six for more than decade risked her life to help the women and girls of afghanistan. he's join us on the web for "to the contrary extra" please join us next time. >> funding for "to the contrary" provided by: >> while other luxury car makers are still building their first hybrid, lexus hybrids have 5.5
billion miles. imagine where we'll go next. >> the life technology foundation is proud so support "to the contrary" on pbs. our foundation seeks to advance science education and to further society's understanding of the life sciences including the impact of genomics on the practice of medicine. >> and by: sam's club, committed to small business. and the spirit of the entrepreneur. and proud to support pbs's "to the contrary" with bonnie erbe. additional founding provided by: the colcom foundation the charles a. frueauff foundation and by the sanofi aventis foundation. for videotapes of to the contrary, please contact federal news service at 1-888-343-1940.