Walking by the large, ugly Office of Thrift Supervision, situated on some prime real estate near the White House on G Street, I always figured it was one of those edifices to irony–like the little notice about the Paperwork Reduction Act that's printed at the bottom of umpteen billion sheets of government paper.
Turns out they're actually in charge of thrifts over there–savings and loans and the like. Still, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson seems to think it's just as useless as my imagined lumpy government-owned structure dedicated to efficiency.
Among changes, Treasury wants to merge the Securities and Exchange Commission, the U.S. markets watchdog, with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission that is charged with overseeing the activities of the nation's futures market.
It also recommends getting rid of a Depression-era charter for thrifts that was intended to make it easier to obtain mortgage loans, saying it is no longer necessary. That would mean closing the Office of Thrift Supervision and transferring its duties to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency that oversees national banks.