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Sure, federal regulators (like the former head of the New York Federal Reserve pictured at left) were inept, incompetent, and inadequate when it came to their ability to first foresee and then to take proper pre-emptive action based on all the red flags that were waving leading up to the financial crisis.

Sure, they may have overlooked the dangers of subprime mortgages, of major financial institutions being leveraged 30 to 1, and of those financial institutions becoming so interconnected through the packaging, re-packaging, and re-re-packaging of toxic securities and selling them back and forth that the failure of one could lead to the failure of all.

Hey, just minor oversights. No need to think they don’t deserve to keep their jobs, or better yet, be given more authority. Treasury Secretary Geithner seems to think so:

“During an appearance on Capitol Hill, Geithner acknowledged failures in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s supervision of Citigroup and other large banks, said regulators were “not conservative enough” when it came to overseeing banks’ leverage ratios and criticized capital requirements as not having done a “good enough job” as a buffer against risk.

He also said that regulators like himself could have done more to prevent the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression…To ensure these kinds of failures are avoided in the future…Geithner wants to leave it up to federal regulators — the same ones that presided over the housing bubble, oversaw extreme risk-taking by banks and other financial firms, and tried (yet failed) to contain a subprime crisis from mushrooming into a financial meltdown.

[…]

In short, Geithner said he wants to give regulators more authority, leaving it up to them to exercise their best judgment.”

No thanks, Tim. We’ve seen what leaving crucial decisions up to the “best judgment” of federal regulators leads to, from Wall Street to the Gulf of Mexico.

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