A long and grueling election season, focused on the economy, has come to a close, with many observers interpreting the outcome as a guarantee that the status quo will persist: legislative gridlock, precluding solutions to the country's fiscal challenges.
But aside from familiar, large-scale issues, like the fiscal cliff, there are many consumer-level financial problems that are in serious need of attention from regulators and legislators. One potential source of hope that these will be addressed: Longtime consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren defeated incumbent Scott Brown in a Massachusetts Senate race. Warren was passed over by President Obama for the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created by the Dodd-Frank Act and based on her ideas; now she has an even more powerful position in Washington. According to Politico's Ben White, "Warren is widely seen as a near lock for a Banking Committee seat where she will almost certainly be a leading voice for tougher regulation and a powerful CFPB and will be a fierce defender of all of Dodd-Frank's provisions."
In an era of increasingly sophisticated technologies and transactions, many consumers are falling behind in understanding how to use essential financial products and services. The result is not just personal loss for individuals: Businesses, and hence the economy as a whole, suffer from friction between confused consumers and their providers. And government, when it steps in, can exacerbate these problems if regulation isn't carefully crafted.
Here, from our partners at U.S. News, are 10 consumer money matters that need attention in Washington and other centers of financial power.
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