Home > #OWS, finance > If Barofsky heads the SEC I’ll work for it

If Barofsky heads the SEC I’ll work for it

December 18, 2012

Neil Barofsky visited my Occupy group, Alternative Banking, this past Sunday. He was awesome.

We discussed the credit crisis, the recent outrageous HSBC ruling which quantified the cost banks near for money laundering for terrorists and drug lords at below cost, and the hopelessness, or on a good day the hope, of having a financial and regulatory system that will eventually work.

We discussed the incentives in the HAMP set-up, which explain why very few homeowners have actually received lasting relief from unaffordable mortgages. We discussed the incentives for fraud and other criminal behavior in the absence of real punishment, that too much money is being spent pursuing insider training because that’s what people understand how to do, and we discussed the reluctance of the regulators to litigate tough cases. We talked about how change has to come from the top, because all of these organizations are super hierarchical and require political will to get things done.

In the past year I was offered a job at the SEC, working as a quant in the enforcement division. Although I want to help sort out this mess, I haven’t felt that this job, which is relatively junior, would allow me to do that meaningfully.

But I came away from the meeting with Barofsky with this feeling: if we had someone in charge at the SEC like him who could speak truth to power and who is smart enough to see through economic jargon and bullshit well enough to understand incentives for fraud and lying, then I’d work there in a heartbeat.

Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another world-wide financial crisis before we get someone like that.

Categories: #OWS, finance
  1. December 18, 2012 at 8:53 am

    Unfortunately it will and more unfortunately it is coming.


  2. December 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Read more:

    This is by William Black.
    Could you imagine a seminar with Barofsky, Black, Michael Hudson,and Sheila Bain ?
    “Where we are going wrong, and how to fix it”


  3. araybold
    December 18, 2012 at 11:28 pm

    Do you know if Mr. Barofsky believes that the SEC, in its current incarnation, could, with effective leadership, make a meaningful difference?


  4. mathematrucker
    December 19, 2012 at 11:32 am

    “too big to fail” & “too big to jail” => “when/where to bail”


  5. December 21, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Fine. We’ll get Neil first then. You should have said something earlier.


    • December 21, 2012 at 7:15 pm

      🙂 I’m serious Canjels.


      • December 21, 2012 at 8:01 pm

        I know you are. I am more skeptical than you that one person at the top can make a big difference. I am less skeptical than you that one relatively junior person can not make a meaningful difference. What does it take to convince you that I am right?


  6. ahsbls
    December 30, 2012 at 7:46 pm

    Neil Barofsky would be an excellant choice to head up the SEC and the CFTC. It is time to get away from the Goldman Sachs — Bank of America group and hire someone who can actually do the job.


  7. Jonathan
    January 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Does Barofsky’s former boss, Mary Jo White, qualify?

    Neil says she is “terrific” http://ow.ly/h6d3Y


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