Yesterday’s TARP hearings were all about political grandstanding, but Rep. Maxine Waters took the art to new heights with her bizarre, out-of-left-field grilling of the bank CEOs. Usually when a politician asks a dumb question, the witness will usually give a polite deferential answer. But when Waters asks about offshore loan mitigation departments and fees the banks paid themselves to take TARP, the CEOs are genuinely dumbfounded. They have no idea what she’s asking. Enjoy the video. The really good stuff is after the four minute mark.
And though it’s kinda funny, it’s actually kinda scary.
Megan McArdle: I sat here in front of my television and laughed at Maxine Waters, because her apparently random ramblings are a true spectacle. One laughs because one can’t cry. But this woman is sitting on the House Financial Services Committee. She is supposed to help craft the bills that govern our financial system. And she clearly doesn’t have the first shred of an inkling of a clue of how said financial system works. Her questions had the air of someone who couldn’t quite wrap her mind around the complexities of the E-Z Reader consumer activist pamphlets from which she had presumably cribbed them.
That’s not really funny. This is the crack talent that’s supposed to reform the banking system into something more robust?