Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Brooksley Born Should Be In, Geithner Should Be Out

By Eric Jackson02/03/10 - 06:00 AM EST

Stock quotes in this article: JPM , AIG , BAC

When Scott Brown won Ted Kennedy's senate seat a few weeks ago, it was a shot across the bow of President Obama from independent voters. Two days later, the president responded by announcing the "Volcker Rule" which will put more restrictions on commercial banks to get out of investing activities and focus more on lending money to their customers.

The president's response showed that he's done a poor job in his first year in office of keeping the support of "independents" -- so-called because they don't permanently define themselves as Republicans or Democrats.

The president understands that, unless he starts winning back these independents and fast, he will face a 1994-style rebuke from voters at this fall's mid-term elections. From a financial reform perspective, he must show voters that he's not a toady to Wall Street -- and I expect he will replace secretary Geithner with Brooksley Born, the former head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission who sounded the alarm on credit default swaps long before the housing crisis swallowed the economy.

Brooksley Born
Brooksley Born, former chairwoman of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission

Why replace Geithner? Although it's now common to Monday morning quarterback the dark days of September 2008, questioning how government officials forced a shotgun marriage of Bear Stearns withJPMorgan Chase(JPM Quote), let Lehman Brothers go under, swooped in to rescue AIG(AIG Quote), and then forced through Bank of America's(BAC Quote) purchase of Merrill Lynch, the fact is -- at that time -- the financial world was careening out of control. I don't fault Geithner's crisis decisions (although they certainly were not all perfect).

[This post is an excerpt of the full article, which available on by clicking here. Free Site.]

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