Government Reform

Office of Thrift Supervision: Now With More Thrift!

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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.

Thrifty, indeed.

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  1. Remember when the S&L crisis and the population crisis were going to doom us all?

    Ah, the good old days. Now all we have is subprimes and global warming. They just don’t make imminent apocalypses like they used to.

    Sigh.

  2. What, there’s an agency dedicated to regulating institutions that no longer exist?

    Who’d’a’ thunk it?

  3. Now all we have is subprimes and global warming climate change.

    Updated for you.

  4. Is there still an office of pestilence?

  5. How many thrifts of any size are left? Doesn’t the OTS spend most of its time regulating Washington Mutual?

    There’s been talk of abolishing the OTS and merging it into the OCC for a while. I’m not sure whether they’d actually get rid of the thrift charter, though.

  6. PL,

    Forget about charter, they really should be flying coach.

  7. Thank goodness the Committee of Public Safety was permanently discredited, so that the people no longer trust politicians who tell us they will make us safer if only we give them more money and power.

    Oh, that was France? Well, at least they learned some lesson.

  8. What, there’s an agency dedicated to regulating institutions that no longer exist?

    Not accurate, Isaac.

    According to their wikipedia entry, they regulate almost 30 huge banks, including a few involved in the present mortgage meltdown.

    More at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Office_of_Thrift_Supervision

  9. There’s still a thrift in my home town. They still exist. The OTS should still be abolished, of course.

  10. I’m not sure how popular the thrift charter is, anymore. There are so many other options, including state charters of various kinds. And credit unions are becoming more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

  11. You think I’ll admit I was wrong, eh?

    Hey, this is the goddamn internet. You never have to admit you’re wrong on the internet.

  12. Besides I’m not interviewing Radley Balko for a job, either.

  13. “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.”

    And they’ll probably transfer all the OTS personnel over to the OCC as well – and give them all raises.

  14. Radley’s hiring?

  15. 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.

    Because combining two huge, unwieldy bureaucracies trying to manage unimaginably complex and fast-moving markets is bound to make things better!

  16. I also heard something about privatizing the Federal Helium Program, but it turns out that was mostly hot air.

    Anyway, as Mr. Bartram noted, the internet means never having to say you’re sorry.

  17. Office of Thrift Supervision – in my mind that brings up the Department of Administrative Affairs.

  18. Why not roll all financial regulation into a Money Czar? With someone quite like Phil Rizzuto appointed to the position?

  19. There is still a subdivision of the Federal Railroad Administration that is responsible for inspecting the boilers of steam locomotives for operational safety.

    I kid you not.

  20. Whenever I passed the Office of Thrift Management as a GW undergrad, it always conjured up visions of federal bureaucrats bragging about their $2 blazers and totally awesome 1960s-era dress shirts.

  21. Hey, this is the goddamn internet. You never have to admit you’re wrong on the internet.

    Have you ever considered applying for a job in the Bush Administration’s Office of Special Plans?

  22. And credit unions are becoming more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

    This sounds like someone cut through them with a lightsaber.

  23. Is there still an office of pestilence?

    Yes Guy

    They used to call it the Communicable Disease Center.They were responsible for “”the War on Mosquitoes”.

    CDC initially focused on fighting malaria by killing mosquitoes. During the first year of operations, 59 percent of its personnel were engaged in this effort. Among its 369 employees, the key jobs at CDC were originally entomology and engineering. In 1946, there were only seven medical officers on duty.

    At that time CDC’s budget was about $1 million. The insecticide DDT, available since 1943, was the primary weapon in the malaria fight, and CDC’s early challenges included obtaining enough trucks, sprayers, and shovels to wage the war on mosquitoes.

    How quaint.The office of pestilence now is concerned with having a diverse workforce and pursuing issues such as gun control and anything else they can think of…..

    CDC has broadened its focus to include chronic diseases, disabilities, injury control, workplace hazards, environmental health threats, and terrorism preparedness. CDC tackles emerging diseases and other health risks, including birth defects, West Nile virus, obesity, avian and pandemic flu, E. coli, auto wrecks, and bioterrorism, to name a few.

    CDC’s budget for 2008 is $8.8 billion. Today the staff numbers nearly 15,000 (including 6,000 contractors and 840 Commissioned Corps officers) in 170 occupations. Engineers, entomologists, epidemiologists, biologists, physicians, veterinarians, behaviorial scientists, nurses, medical technologists, economists, health communicators, toxicologists, chemists, computer scientists, and statisticians-to name only a few-each are dedicated to the pursuit of public health.
    CDC headquarters in DeKalb County, Georgia as seen from Emory University
    CDC headquarters in DeKalb County, Georgia as seen from Emory University

    CDC is headquartered in DeKalb County, Georgia, but it has 10 other locations in the United States and Puerto Rico. Those locations include Anchorage, Alaska; Cincinnati, Ohio; Fort Collins, Colorado; Hyattsville, Maryland; Morgantown, West Virginia; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; Research Triangle Park, North Carolina; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Spokane, Washington; and Washington, D.C. In addition, CDC staff are located in state and local health agencies, quarantine/border health offices at ports of entry, and 45 countries around the world, from Angola to Zimbabwe.

    The work force is diverse and well qualified. More than a third of CDC’s employees are members of a racial or ethnic minority group, and women account for nearly 60 percent of CDC’s workforce. Nearly 40 percent of employees have a master’s degree; 25 percent have a Ph.D.; and 10 percent have medical degrees.

    From little acorns…………….

  24. Radley is the only who does any work at Reason. Seriously.

  25. CDC? I thought it had been absorbed by the Commission on Plagues and Demonic Posssesion.

  26. His name was Henry Paulson.

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