The recent bank hearings in Washington with the House Finance Committee show just how unprepared most members of Congress are to deal with the complex financial world we live in.
I would have thought this the perfect occasion for probing questions into the state of our economy; the prospect for continuing capitalization of businesses small and large; the Fed’s treatment of interest rates; the impact of debt - consumer, business, and government - on hopes for a growing economy; cyber hacking; regulation of bitcoin; the impact of trade deals with China; and maybe even funding for the development of trade and vocational schools to answer the crying need for a better prepared workforce.
Oh, how naive I am.
Rather than questions relevant to a vibrant and growing economy, the Chairperson of the Congressional Finance Committee, Maxine Waters, thought it far more useful to question bank heads about the state of student loans in America. One would presume that the good Chairwoman knows that such loans were taken over by the government during the Obama years and that these banks have little or nothing to do with the issue. Likely, she’d been too busy chanting “IMPEACH 45” to pay attention to such mundane details.
In addition to student loans, the Democrats on the committee also thought it crucial to question these bankers about their lending practices to gun manufacturers. What relevance is that to the stability of the economy or the creation of new jobs? Absolutely NOTHING.
But so what? To the left, you never let the facts get in the way of a good issue. And you never miss the chance to use a public forum to press your agenda, even if it means sticking the big boot of government over-reach right up the backside of the free enterprise system. Guns = bad. Media telling the world guns are bad = good!
Using Finance Committee hearings to pander to indebted students and anti-gun activists is just dumb. Worse, it’s a betrayal of working people who are trying hard to put food on their tables and care for the economic needs of themselves and their families.
I was half expecting questions about whether these bankers were prepared to finance the New Green Deal. Maybe they just didn’t get around to it.
During their campaigns, every single member of this committee was at some point quoted promising to build an economy that created more and better-paying jobs for their constituents. If that was really their concern, they’d have asked what the bankers are doing to help businesses grow, make Americans more productive, and create more jobs. They’d have zeroed in on questions of development in the housing and commercial real estate markets. Here’s a question, how can we encourage home ownership without risking our economy by pursuing policies in vogue under Clinton that allowed borrowers to get 110% loans with little or no documentation?
The Finance Committee had the chance to get inside information from some of the most important bankers in the world. Why not ask their thoughts about America’s economic outlook? Can we sustain current growth? What government policies will it take to maintain and even expand growth? How can we extend prosperity to communities so often left behind during past economic expansions?
At one point, Chairperson Waters was firing questions so rapidly, she’d moved on to the next before those testifying even had a chance to get to the microphone. She showed ZERO regard for individuals who are arguably the most important in the world when it comes to assuring America’s economic future. It was shameful behavior and seemed intended only to boost her puffy ego at the expense of those before the committee.
The entire sad episode is just another in a long list of examples that show that the left-wing politicians who control the House don’t have a clue about our economy or what makes it tick. They don’t know what will keep our economy growing. They don’t get the urgency of expanding prosperity into those communities that have not fully realized the benefits of a vibrant economy.
But far worse than showing that they don't know the importance of economic growth to the financial well-being of their constituents, they proved they just don’t care.