John McCain, financial idiot

And now, let us hold hands across the blogospheric divide.

My friend and colleague Steve Bainbridge is right: the President can, in fact, fire the SEC chair. What he can’t do is fire a commissioner, so he would have to choose a new chair from among the group of serving commissioners. The old chair would be just be a regular commissioner. According to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 sec. 78(d), commissioners serve staggered five-year terms and one expires on June 5 of each year, meaning that the new President can replace one early in his term. I also wouldn’t be surprised if there was a culture of commissioners resigning (at least those of the same party) to allow the new President to put in his team.

That said, the real story is just how much of an economic moron/charlatan McCain is.

The gist of his argument is that the financial crisis is the result of the SEC allowing short selling. No one believes this. No one. There are a lot of reasons for the current crisis, and (unlike Steve) I’m not prepared without greater research to exonerate the SEC, but if McCain thinks that it’s about short selling, he even dumber than I thought.

But of course McCain doesn’t believe anything; he’s just saying anything to win. He doesn’t really know, and he doesn’t really care.

And that’s the story.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.