Now this is more like it

Today in announcing his nomination of Mary Schapiro to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, President-elect Barack Obama picked up where he left off on “Meet the Press” on 7 Dec., when he declared his support of strong regulation of financial markets.  Obama’s two-minute statement today was strong as well:

“… regulators who were assigned to oversee Wall Street dropped the ball.”

“Financial regulatory reform will be one of the top legislative priorities of my administration.  And as a symbol of how important I view this reform, I’m announcing these appointments months earlier than previous administrations have.”

“Instead of appointing people with disdain for regulations, I will ensure that our regulatory agencies are led by people who are ready and willing to enforce the law.”

All this is in marked contrast to what I read in The New York Times on Thansksgiving eve, in a profile of the next National Economic Council Chair, Lawrence Summers, who appeared to dismiss the notion that deregulation was a major factor in the crisis (New York Times, 25 Nov. 2008).  David Leonhardt of  the Times put it this way:  “As Treasury secretary starting in 1999, he shepherded a couple of bills that helped deregulate financial markets, and he has made it clear that he doesn’t buy the notion that these laws caused the financial crisis.”  Either Summers is shooting down a straw man that says the laws were the sole cause of the crisis (which I don’t think anybody is arguing), or he’s saying the laws did not contribute to the crisis, period.  Leonhardt interrupts his glowing profile to state, “I wish he and other Clinton administration alumni were a bit more introspective about what they might have done differently.”  Me, too.

I stated these concerns a couple weeks ago on the old version of this blog, 25-26 Nov. 2008.  Here’s the rest of it:

The Best and the Brightest?

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2 Responses to “Now this is more like it”

  1. Obama’s economists, Part I « Blogging Through the Wreckage Says:

    […] Part I By Ranjit This is a topic I’m sure I’ll be returning to many times.  Among my greatest post-election disappointments was Larry Summers’s comment that it was a misc….  Hello?  And I still don’t know what to think about Tim Geithner — New York Fed […]

  2. Big swinging deregulators « Blogging Through the Wreckage Says:

    […] Big swinging deregulators By Ranjit ” ‘As Treasury secretary starting in 1999, [Larry Summers] shepherded a couple of bills that helped deregulate financial markets, and he has made it clear that he doesn’t buy the notion that these laws caused the financial crisis.” — David Leonhardt, New York Times, 25 November 2008 (more here) […]

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