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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sheila Bair for CFPB Director?

Should Sheila Bair be nominated to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Board?:

Sheila Bair for CFPB Director (Really), by Economics of Contempt: The White House is evidently having trouble finding a nominee for director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The list of people who have passed on the job includes former Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm, former Sen. Ted Kaufman, Massachusetts AG Martha Coakley, Iowa AG Tom Miller, and Illinois AG Lisa Madigan.

Elizabeth Warren, who is currently setting up the CFPB as a “Special Advisor” to the Treasury Secretary, just can’t get the 60 votes required for Senate confirmation. She couldn’t get 60 votes last year, when there were 59 Dems in the Senate... So her chances of getting 60 votes now that there are only 53 Dems in the Senate are somewhere between exceedingly slim and none. Obama could technically recess appoint Warren, and while the chances of that happening have probably gone up, I’d still be very surprised if he did.

I think Obama should seriously consider Sheila Bair for the CFPB job. As a preliminary matter, she can definitely get 60 votes in the Senate. I know that Chris Dodd approached her last year about the job, and she said she wasn’t interested, but that was then. She still had a year left at the FDIC when Dodd approached her. Now, with only a couple months left at the FDIC, she might be more receptive. Plus, a personal appeal from the president is pretty hard to turn down. ...

I haven’t been the biggest Sheila Bair fan in the past, but I’ve more or less made my peace with Bair. I still think she’s a self-promoter, and cares too much about her image in the media. But, to her credit, when it comes down to brass tacks on issues that really matter, she always ends up doing/saying the right thing rather than the popular thing.

Bair is also fiercely territorial, which sometimes bleeds into parochial. During the financial crisis, this was supremely unhelpful. But I think this would be one of her greatest strengths as the CFPB director. Given the CFPB’s bizarre legislative structure, in which the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) can veto the CFPB’s rulemakings, you want a CFPB director who is territorial, and maybe even a bit parochial. ...

Why not make a recess appointment? Republicans might get mad, but nothing new there, they're always mad -- who would notice? And even if they did notice, so what?

Update: I received this comment via Twitter:

Same char 4 a man it's just alpha & a leader, but 4 a woman, disqualifications?

I think it's a good question.

    Posted by on Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 08:46 AM in Economics, Financial System, Market Failure | Permalink  Comments (8)


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