July 8 2010

Financial... What?

Nicole Kurokawa Neily

As if financial “reform” wasn’t enough of a joke already, the always excellent Diana Furchgott-Roth has a great article at RealClearMarkets that highlights an absurd (and little-noticed) provision of the financial reform bill:

I was searching the bill for a provision about derivatives. What did I find but Section 342, which declares that race and gender employment ratios, if not quotas, must be observed by private financial institutions that do business with the government. In a major power grab, the new law inserts race and gender quotas into America's financial industry.

In addition to this bill's well-publicized plans to establish over a dozen new financial regulatory offices, Section 342 sets up at least 20 Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion. This has had no coverage by the news media and has large implications.

The Treasury, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the 12 Federal Reserve regional banks, the Board of Governors of the Fed, the National Credit Union Administration, the Comptroller of the Currency, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau...all would get their own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion.

Each office would have its own director and staff to develop policies promoting equal employment opportunities and racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of not just the agency's workforce, but also the workforces of its contractors and sub-contractors.

What would be the mission of this new corps of Federal monitors? The Dodd-Frank bill sets it forth succinctly and simply - all too simply. The mission, it says, is to assure "to the maximum extent possible the fair inclusion" of women and minorities, individually and through businesses they own, in the activities of the agencies, including contracting.

Really? Reforms are needed, but not of this sort. The financial system should be overseen by the most qualified person for the job – regardless of their race or gender. To assume that women need to be singled out for special treatment and preferences insinuates that women are not capable of achieving these positions on their own merit – which is a true insult.

And come on - the only woman that I want to hear about in a financial reform bill is named Fannie Mae.

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