Yesterday at a conference, House Republican leader John Boehner urged hundreds of bankers to push back when it came to reform of the financial system. “Don’t let those little punk staffers take advantage of you, and stand up for yourselves,” he said, of those working on a regulation bill on Capitol Hill. Several people have since slapped back, among them Senate Finance Committee Chair Barney Frank and White House Economic Advisor Larry Summers.
I do not think of the people who work on this project as “little punk staffers.” I do not think that those who want to address these issues are “little punk staffers” who need to be stood up to. And at a time when industry has hired — has spent $1 million on lobbyists per member of Congress, at a moment when there are four lobbyists per member of the House and Senate working on this issue, we in the administration do not believe that the prominent issue is allowing bankers to stand up for themselves.
As the Times observes, it’s kind of unusual for Summers to be out there playing defense. We can only assume this is because Tim Geithner had to be sedated after throwing a profanity-laced hissy fit that concluded with, “At least my name isn’t Boehner.”