Senate Goes After Regulators Past, Present
The big Senate Banking committee hearing is underway on Capitol Hill, where Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, SEC Chairman Chris Cox, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Jim Lockhart face a number of angry Senators.
No one on the committee missed the opportunity to:
A) Lash out at Wall Street fat cats and
B) Lash out at Washington regulators who they said let the fat cats get away with their fat cattery.
Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and ranking member Richard Shelby (D-Ala.) opened the hearing by criticizing the proposed bailout and blaming former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan among others.
Their stinging comments may be echoing those of some Americans who are venting about the Wall Street bailout.
"This plan is stunning in its scope and lack of detail, I might add," Dodd said. "It does nothing in my view to help a single family save a home."
Shelby recalled that he questioned Greenspan in 2003 about the rise in risky mortgages and the fact that more and more homeowners were spending half of their income to maintain their mortgages.
"At this very committee, he said that rising home prices would provide an equity cushion for borrowers," Shelby said.
In the first half-hour of trading on Wall Street, trading is up across the board: the Dow is up nearly 80 points, with the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 showing gains, as well.
-- Frank Ahrens
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