SEC's Cox: I Didn't Want That Stupid Short-Selling Ban But Paulson Made Me Do It

Is it just us, or did SEC head Chris Cox just hit a new height of wimpy?

Cox said the biggest mistake of his tenure was agreeing in September to an extraordinary three-week ban on short selling of financial company stocks. But in publicly acknowledging for the first time that this ban was not productive, Cox said he had been under intense pressure from Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Fed Chairman Ben S. Bernanke to take this action and did so reluctantly. They “were of the view that if we did not act and act at that instant, these financial institutions could fail as a result and there would be nothing left to save,” Cox said.

The short-selling ban was almost certainly not the biggest mistake of Cox’s tenure. But it would be nice to see him take responsibility for his decisions. If he thought the ban was senseless, he shouldn’t have implemented it. If Paulson persuaded him that it had to be done, he should say so. But to look back now and say “Paulson made me do it”?

Grow a backbone, Chris!

See Also: Clobbered Cox Comes Out Swinging At Paulson and Bernanke

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