We take time out from the Green Revolution to wonder whether sexism isn’t playing a large role in the Obama Administration’s response to the financial crisis.
Over at the Big Picture, Chris Whalen does a punishing takedown of the Sunday NYT story on infighting between the bureaucracies. Essentially, according to Whalen, Geithner and Currency Comptroller John Dugan are doing the big banks’ bidding, and then using their media contacts to trash FDIC chair Sheila Bair, who seems to want to follow the law and ensure that we don’t have zombie banks ruining the economy for years.
Dugan is a complete tool of the large zombie banks, IMHO, a career “public servant” who is entirely captive of the industry he pretends to regulate. Thus his forceful protestations about Bair’s tough line with Citigroup and other insolvent money center banks. Along with Secretary Tim Geithner, Dugan takes his marching orders from GS, JPM and the other major banks, thus the continued effort to try and force Bair out at FDIC. Unfortunately, the Times is so busy carrying the water for Master Tim that they neglect to provide you with the adequate coloration to full appreciate who is serving the public interest among the regulators. . . .
Of course Paulson, Bernanke et al were “fuming” at Sheila Bair. The FDIC Chairman was doing her job while the rest of these spineless weasels, these duplicitous, traitorous villains were selling out the taxpayer to subsidize the bond holders of the large banks — the clients of PIMCO, BlackRock and the rest of the Buy Side. Following Paulson’s lead, Dugan and Geithner are simply representing their clients and future employers on the Sell Side.
As they say, read the whole thing.
But this all made me notice something. If this account is right (and it is a big “if”), then Bair is third highly expert woman whom the testosterone-charged Masters of the Universe have decided to ignore, then try to undercut.
In 1999, then-CFTC chair Brooksley Born attempted to regulate Credit Default Swaps: Summers, Geithner (then Undersecretary of the Treasury for International Affairs), Greenspan and Phil Gramm then stripped her of her authority to do so and dismissed her concerns. Instead of brining her into the administration, Summers and Geithner have kept her far away. They have also sidelined TARP watchdog Elizabeth Warren, who as a Harvard Law Professor should have complete entree into the Cambridge-heavy administration. And now Bair.
Summers, of course, has been accused of sexism in the past, and I have defended him from that charge. You can be a jerk without being a sexist (although it helps.). But this doesn’t look good — and more importantly, it appears to be blocking the development of good policy.
This is an n of 3. It could be a coincidence. It’s premature to leap to conclusions.
By the way — you notice that we have had a three female Secretaries of State, and a female national security advisor, and several women on the Supreme Court — and no female Treasury Secretary? Wonder why that is? Just asking….