The fundamental question in thinking about consumer protection and financial inclusion is this: who do we want making financial decisions for ourselves and our children? Either we accept the responsibility for our own destiny, or, as President Reagan said in 1964, we “abandon the American Revolution and confess that an intellectual elite in a far-distant capitol can plan our lives for us better than we can plan them ourselves.”
Fifty-five years later, we still have to make this fundamental choice. We must be vigilant, guarding against every effort to subvert the idea of consumer protection by equating it with giving license to government actors to supplant consumer preferences with their own. And we must be mindful that the free market is the greatest engine for economic mobility and financial inclusion. Quite simply, the single best policy to protect American consumers and to foster financial inclusion is to ensure that consumers have the ability to make their own choices in free markets.