Finance is a Feminist issue
Maureen Tkacik in Slate, analyzes the reactions to Sheila Bair by the Finance Boyz and finds a lot of familiar misogynist tropes.
I recently heard that Vogue was desperate to find women prominent in the colossal effort to fix the financial crisis to profile. Um, hello! FDIC Chairwoman Sheila Bair is arguably the most powerful woman in the world right now, a fact for which we should all be grateful. Universally regarded as the sole member of the Bush administration's crisis rescue team to have recognized early both the magnitude of the fraudulence in the mortgage business and the magnitude of the risk that fraud posed to the financial system, Bair has distinguished herself as not only our most populist regulator but, if a recent New Yorker profile is to be believed, our most intellectually curious and competent regulator as well.
But Bair apparently didn't fly with Vogue's photo department, and for reasons that seem equally inane and insulting, she's been kept out of the administration's financial-policy decisions as well.
The Treasury Department's recent white paper on financial reform seemed almost specifically designed to minimize Bair's role in future management of the crisis. (The New York Post called the FDIC the "biggest loser" under the proposed overhaul. Back in December, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner reportedly—though he denies it now—tried to have her ousted. Sources of mine also say he repeatedly leaves her out of decisions that affect her agency, ignores her ideas in meetings, and dispatches deputies and allies to smear her as a power-hungry "activist regulator"—The New Yorker even characterizes her as such, which is somewhat extraordinary in light of the considerable "activism" that has been pursued in this crisis—in the press.
Why won't that bitch quit?
All the negativity has taken a toll on her reputation. The New Republic went from a glowing examination of her record a few months ago to a more recent musing on why the administration hadn't just canned her already.
Why indeed? Following a thorough review of her record and consultations with at least two dozen individuals with infinitely more financial expertise than myself, I am going to have to go with: because the criticisms of Sheila Bair's leadership amount to and have only spread thanks to the pervasiveness of basic sexism.
Read the whole thing.