Biden’s bank robber
Joe Biden’s nominee for Comptroller of the Currency in the U.S. Treasury Department is Saule Omarova, a native of Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic and graduate of Moscow State University, which she attended on a “Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship.”
In a May 9, 2020 interview with Chris Hayes of NBC, Omarova revealed she was in an exchange program with the University of Wisconsin in 1991 when the USSR collapsed. The Lenin scholar remained stateside to pursue a Ph.D. in political science. Some of her views on economics emerged in 2019, nearly 30 years after the USSR collapsed. “Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there,” Omarova wrote, “Market doesn’t always ‘know best.’”
Contrary to the Lenin scholar, individuals know what’s best for themselves and a free market empowers them to make choices that reflect those interests. In the old USSR, by contrast, an all-male Marxist-Leninist dictatorship planned the economy. This ran up against the knowledge problem F.A. Hayek outlined in The Road to Serfdom way back in 1944 during the Stalin era.
Economic knowledge is fragmented and dispersed, so no group of people is able to plan an economy that will thrive for the benefit of all. That’s why Omarova’s beloved “old USSR” was an economic basket case.
Countries barren of liberties are also barren of groceries. The biggest country in the world, with abundant energy and natural resources, could not even feed itself. This was a matter of record, but Hayes failed to press the issue. Omarova knew that in the old USSR consumers waited in line to select, pay, and pick up the goods. That is how an economy planned by Communist Party bosses functions in practice, but there’s more to it.
In a Communist state like the old USSR, rulers must be willing to take drastic measures, so as Hayek put it, the worst always get on top. In the old USSR, those less than worshipful of the collectivization plan had to be “liquidated as a class,” as with the kulaks of Ukraine in the 1930s, when Stalin planned a famine that claimed millions of innocent lives.
In their lengthy interview, Chris Hayes failed to ask Omarovara about those episodes, and the system of forced labor camps Solzhenitsyn wrote about in The Gulag Archipelago, and Anne Applebaum charted in the 2003 Gulag: A History. For her part, Omarova did not volunteer what she knew, when she knew it, and what she thought about it.
In The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy, released in 2020, Omarova set forth the vision of “how democratizing access to central bank money would -- and should -- transform and democratize the entire financial system.” The paper offers a “blueprint for a comprehensive restructuring of the central bank balance sheet as the basis for redesigning the core architecture of modern finance.”
Her proposed reforms, Omarova claims, “would make the financial system less complex, more stable, and more efficient in serving the long-term needs of the American people.” Making independent banks “non-depository lenders” would change banking “as we know it.”
Lenin scholar Saule Omarova, alum of Moscow State University, wants the Federal Reserve to control every American’s money. This is economic Lysenkoism, a belch from the old USSR, where the government set salaries, as Omarova explained, “in a gender-blind manner and all women got very generous maternity benefits. Both things are still a pipe dream in our society!”
Many emigres from Communist dictatorships become ardent advocates of free markets and limited government. Not so Saule Omarova, but her defense of the USSR hasn’t hurt her. During the administration of George W. Bush, Omarova served in the Treasury department as a special advisor on regulatory policy to the undersecretary for domestic finance.
The Lenin scholar now holds forth as a law professor at Cornell. Under current conditions, Saule Omarova is even money to be confirmed as Comptroller of the Currency.
In a close vote, the Senate recently confirmed Tracy Stone-Manning, linked with tree-spiking eco-terrorists, as director of the Bureau of Land Management. The same politicians could easily make way for the Lenin scholar who wants to change banking, and America, as we know it.
Lloyd Billingsley is a policy fellow at the Independent Institute in Oakland, California.
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