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Uncertainty Is a Good Thing, Mr. Geithner

Tim Geithner appears to be engaged in a power struggle with Sheila Bair over the concentration or dispersion of financial regulatory authority. Given their relative abilities, it is one that HE would never win if the forces were anything like equal. But they might not be.

The mainstream Administration wants power concentrated in a few centers, across the board, in finance, health care, whatever. The dissidents of the same Administration want a large number of "powers that be" even if it means a greater dispersion of power. Their reasoning is simple: The more cops, like e.g., Eilot Spitzer, the more chances of catching "bad guys." Their opponents would fire some cops and invest the savings in more "hardware" (police cruisers, to use the analogy). That way, they could be more "certain" of outcomes.

Uncertainty is a good thing (because it helps keep the crooks on their toes). The only way that concentration of power would be better is if there were a certainty of punishment for financial wrong doers. But the concentration of power proposed by people likeTim Geithner would actually make the system easier to "co-opt." Then where would we be.