We’ve been watching various regulators bitch about Tim Geithner’s proposed regulatory structure overhaul with some amusement (what else do Sheila Bair and John Dugan agree about?)
The Treasury Secretary, on the other hand, is not amused. According to the WSJ, he blasted the feuding FDIC chairman and Comptroller of the Currency, along with Ben Bernanke, SEC chairman Mary Schapiro, CFTC chairman Gary Gensler and others, at a briefing Friday:
Friday’s roughly hourlong meeting was described as unusual, not only because of Mr. Geithner’s repeated use of obscenities, but because of the aggressive posture he took with officials from federal agencies generally considered independent of the White House. Mr. Geithner reminded attendees that the administration and Congress set policy, not the regulatory agencies.
The various regulators, of course, are just looking out for their own agencies and people. And it was Congress who asked for input from the regulators into Obama’s regulatory overhaul plan in the first place.
Rahm Emanuel rushed to explain Geithner’s behaviour, but his excuse made little sense, unless the Administration plans to pass into law executive pay restrictions even stronger than those on TARP recipients:
“The industry is already back to their pre-meltdown bonuses,” said White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel. “We need to make sure we don’t slip back to risky behaviour where the institutions have all the upside and the taxpayers have all the downside, which is why we need regulatory reform.”
We do understand the frustration, though. Obama charged into office promising reform. And so far anyway, it’s just been more of the same.
(Tim Geithner shouldn’t be the one to point fingers here, though. His own fixes have been a direct continuation of the those of the Bush administration).
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