Monday, March 18, 2013

Bair Questions US Treasury Secretary Lew's Abilities

Former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair questioned new US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew's ability to handle his job during a Q&A at The Atlantic's Economy Summit. She initially lamented that Obama did not reach outside his inner cycle to fill the position.

"The same voices are in the room. We have to get out of this rut," she complained.

Bair particularly did not like the choice of Jack Lew. She panned his overall intelligence by saying that "he is not a quick study". She is worried that Lew probably "will not take an assertive view of financial reform."

Even more troubling, she does not believe that he can handle one of his key responsibilities as Treasury Secretary.

Bair said, "As Treasury Secretary, he is chairman of the the Financial Stability Oversight Council. It is a key voice for financial reform.  He does not have a background in that."

An outspoken critic of administration, Bair continues to give the administration a low grade for their handling of the economy.

"We are not getting more jobs and lending out of this. It is troubling."

Bair, who wrote a vivid account of her time in office called "Bull by the Horns," made some interesting arguments for business to support more infrastructure spending.

She argued, "With interest costs, construction costs so low, it is fiscally irresponsible not to embark on major infrastructure spending. It would lower the cost of doing business."

She urged both sides to come together for a budget deal.

"The fiscal uncertainty, what is happening in Washington, affects the economy," she said.

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