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Sheila Bair And Elizabeth Warren--Breaking the Glass Ceiling

The "glass ceiling" no longer consists of whether women can get appointed to jobs of a certain level. It now consists of whether they will be allowed to do their jobs once they reach that level. Two of those women are Sheila Bair and Elizabeth Warren.

Sheila Bair is the head of the FDIC, formerly dismissed by Citigroup as the "third regulator." Well, Citi, I've got news for you. A regulator is a regulator is a regulator, whether it is the third or thirteenth. And if the "top two" regulators are "otherwise engaged," and the third one is on your case, that becomes your de facto, first regulator.

Bair, at the FDIC, has a mandate to look out for depositors, particularly retail ones, i.e., the most vulnerable group at the table. As such, she is actually the most important regulator from a societal (as opposed to financial) pont of view. Frankly, as a depositor, I prefer to have Ms. Bair look after my interests, knowing that she will do the job thoroughly and honestly. And if she says that Citigroup has been taking too many risks (with derivatives or whatever), and needs to spend time in the "penalty box" to fix those risks, I'm with her. No ifs, ands, or buts.

Elizabeth Warren is the head of the TARP oversight panel. Troubled assets may not have been her forte. But the underlying problem, consumer credit and subprime lending, IS her forte. She wanted TARP oversight into Bank of America's acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Considering that BAC and Merrill were among the biggest creators of the subprime mess, (and that BAC also bought Countrywide Credit), someone like Warren deserves a place at this table.

Although I may disapprove of individual statements or actions by these individuals, I approve of  the "gloves off" direction that these women are taking. Too much of the financial system has been treated too long with kid gloves. Sometimes it takes a woman to do a man's job. (This is coming from a man, by the way.)