Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan has added his name to the list of lame-duck Bush-appointee financial regulators that oppose the Obama Administration’s proposed regulatory overhaul.
Does this matter?
Well, it’s the first time we have ever agreed with friend-of-Wall Street Dugan, a former industry lobbyist who was hailed by a fellow industry lobbyist (Bob Glauber) as a “godsend” in a glowing American Banker profile.
Dugan allegedly opposes the Obama plan on grounds that it gives too much consumer protection power to the states. Of course, he has also had a long-standing feud with the leading national consumer protection advocate FDIC chairman Sheila Bair.
Unfortunately, the addition of an industry apologist like Dugan to the chorus of opposition undermines the substantive critiques of the Obama plan made by Ben Bernanke and Bair. This lends credence to Tim Geithner’s spin that all critics are just engaging in another bitter, pointless, inside-the-beltway turf war.
Bernanke and Bair’s objections should be taken seriously here. Both have both emerged from the financial disaster with burnished reputations for being competent, ideologically-neutral, and patriotic public servants.
Both are cerebral Republicans, and in contrast to Geithner–a longtime protege of Bob Rubin and Larry Summers–they have no loyalty to a clique of discredited policymakers in need of redemption.
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