McCain wrong to call for firing SEC chairman Cox

by Kurt Schulzke on September 18, 2008

John McCain has lost his marbles or his principles. The guy who so courageously faced down public criticism of the Iraq War “surge” is now just another member of a pack irresponsibly yammering for some kind of vengeance against someone over the sub-prime mortgage and stock market mess.  Simply pathetic.  Reuters reports:

. . . John McCain said on Thursday he would, if elected, fire U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox for failing in his oversight of Wall Street.

“The Chairman of the SEC serves at the appointment of the president and in my view has betrayed the public’s trust,” McCain told a rally in the electoral battleground state of Iowa. “If I were president today, I would fire him.”

Betrayed the public’s trust? Exactly how would that be, Mr. Free-Market Marverick McCain? This kind of rhetoric is the worst sort of election-year posturing. It’s like crying “fire” (pardon the pun), in a crowded theater.  It’s the kind of mob-stirring bomb-throwing that will land some hapless but innocent executive in jail for the rest of his life.  McCain should know better.

And one more thing: Sarah Palin’s call for “more stringent regulation” of securities markets is equally ridiculous and shows either how little she knows about the economy or how little she cares about the truth.

The fact is that markets go up and down.  Ours have been anything but “free” since 1933 or ’34, so don’t anyone go blaming this fiasco on “free” markets.  If regulation had any impact on the current mess, it was to exacerbate irresponsible behavior of people — on Wall Street and Main Street — who foolishly and unrealistically relied on government to do something governments of all stripes are incapable of doing.  Governments cannot prospectively “protect” anyone against greedy and irresponsible behavior, especially when the victim is also the perpetrator.

If middle-class Americans want to know who to blame for their falling 401Ks, they should take a good, long look in the mirror.  This is not the fault of any one person any where.  This is a natural consequence of people from all walks of life grasping for too much too quickly while failing to use their heads and exercise “due diligence”.  All the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not save this Humpty-Dumpty from falling off the wall.  And I think John McCain knows it.  Not so sure at this point about Sarah Palin.