In the interest of fairness, I also wanted to weigh in briefly on ways in which Larry Summers views on financial market oversight, a critical part of the job of Fed chair, have been misrepresented in some accounts.
This historical amnesia is a dangerous mistake. It poisons our hearts with pessimism. It blinds us to the lessons and solutions we need. Most New Yorkers have no idea how prevalent poverty used to be -- or how their predecessors made it go away.
Until we develop a culturally-relevant and widely accepted concept of what constitutes poor corporate practice in a specific country or region, we cannot develop mechanisms that effectively promote good governance and stamp out corruption in that location.
Summers had ample opportunity in his prior jobs to demonstrate a commitment to rein in the financial sector. All the evidence shows he pushed in the opposite direction. The Obama administration's effort to portray him as the frustrated regulator should not be taken seriously.
The fear that deficits and mounting debt will suffocate economic recovery and impede healthy growth has been tested over the last several years, and the results are not just unimpressive -- but painful when one looks at unemployment levels.
All these men are honorable. None has broken any law. But they and their ilk in congress -- the Democrats who are now rolling back Dodd-Frank -- don't seem to appreciate the extent to which Wall Street has harmed, and continues to harm, America.
The private sector isn't bad, nor is the SEC, or at least they don't have to be. Common sense reforms that strike at the heart of deleterious incentives are the only ways to cure the financial regulatory system of its toothless regulations and laughable oversight mechanisms.
To do their job properly, financial regulators -- the people in charge of securing our economic future -- must understand how their policies affect these communities. And that's why we desperately need people of color in these positions.
The private sector should be held to the same standard of scrutiny that the government itself receives from the people, and corporate governance should be as much a matter of public debate and law as political governance.
The appointment comes as no surprise because the agency typically draws regulators from the ranks of the regulated. But it does illustrate a significant problem: by relying so heavily on people with industry connections, the SEC can tangle itself in conflicts of interest.