Biden’s commissar of the currency
The Biden administration has gone to great lengths to placate progressives who view the market economy with fear and loathing. But his designee for the office of Comptroller of the Currency, Cornell law professor Saule Omarova, is something else.
As the Wall Street Journal writes, Omarova isn’t keen on the private financial institutions she would regulate:
Ms. Omarova thinks asset prices, pay scales, capital and credit should be dictated by the federal government. In two papers, she has advocated expanding the Federal Reserve’s mandate to include the price levels of “systemically important financial assets” as well as worker wages. As they like to say at the modern university, from each according to her ability to each according to her needs.
In a recent paper “The People’s Ledger,” she proposed that the Federal Reserve take over consumer bank deposits, “effectively ‘end banking,’ as we know it,” and become “the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a modern economy.” She’d also like the U.S. to create a central bank digital currency—as Venezuela and China are doing—to “redesign our financial system & turn Fed’s balance sheet into a true ‘People’s Ledger,’” she tweeted this summer. What could possibly go wrong?
Ms. Omarova believes capital and credit should be directed by an unaccountable bureaucracy and intelligentsia. She has recommended a “National Investment Authority,” with members overseen by an advisory board of academics, to finance a “big and bold” climate agenda. Sounds like the green infrastructure bank the Senate rejected.
She’d also like a politically and structurally independent “Public Interest Council” of “highly paid” academics with broad subpoena power to supervise financial regulatory agencies, including the Fed. The Council, she explained, would not be subject to the “constraints and requirements of the administrative process.” Ivy League professors know best.
That’s perhaps not unexpected from an academic who got an undergrad degree from the “Moscow State University in 1989 on the Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.”
Even Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen didn’t want Omarova nominated. So why did Biden agree to it? The Journal says it’s a trade-off: “Mr. Biden is trying to appease progressives because he plans to reappoint Jerome Powell as Fed chairman.”
In other words, Biden struck a horrible bargain. With himself. Let’s hope the country doesn’t have to pay for it.