Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sexual and Racial Quotas and the Dodd-Frank Bailout Bill

Diana Furchtgott-Roth of the Hudson Institute provides an additional reason why the Dodd-Frank bailout legislation is bad for the American economy. But this shouldn't be too surprising. Senator Dodd and Congressman Frank are akin to a couple of foxes designing rules for the construction of henhouses. So we get government-mandated racial and sexual discrimination in addition to more bailouts, more moral hazard, more red tape, more spending, and no reform of Fannie and Freddie. What's not to love about this festering pile of you-know-what?
In a major power grab, the new law inserts race and gender quotas into America's financial industry. 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. ...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.

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