Thursday, July 08, 2010

Discrimination in Financial Reform Bill...Where's my PostRacial Government?

I thought it was just supposed to stabilize the markets. Well that's what Chris Dodd (see Countrywide) and Bwarney Fwank (see Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) told us. We can trust them, right? I mean, they are part of the same party that gave us the wonderful Community Reinvestment Act. Well, of course, we can't trust them. Buried deep within the new Financial reform laws is discrimination based on gender and race. Whatever happened to the notion that his Annointed Oneness would bring about a postracial America? Not so much. From RealClearMarkets:
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.
Lest there be any narrow interpretation of Congress’s intent, either by agencies or eventually by the courts, the bill specifies that the “fair” employment test shall apply to “financial institutions, investment banking firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, financial services entities, underwriters, accountants, investment consultants and providers of legal services.” That last would appear to rope in law firms working for financial entities.

Contracts are defined expansively as “all contracts for business and activities of an agency, at all levels, including contracts for the issuance or guarantee of any debt, equity, or security, the sale of assets, the management of the assets of the agency, the making of equity investments by the agency, and the implementation by the agency of programs to address economic recovery.”

This latest attempt by Congress to dictate what “fair” employment means is likely to encourage administrators and managers, in government and in the private sector, to hire women and minorities for the sake of appearances, even if some new hires are less qualified than other applicants. The result is likely to be redundant hiring and a wasteful expansion of payroll overhead.

Yay, just what we need, wasteful expansions of payroll and hiring people who are incompetent. Well, we did hire Barack Obama to be our President, and we see how that experiment in incompetency is working out. How is that hopey-changiness doing for ya?