Of financial reform and nuking ants

Political pundits of the Democratic persuasion had a field day this week with House Republican Leader John Boehner’s comment that the financial regulatory overhaul compromise making its way through Congress is akin to “killing an ant with a nuclear weapon.”

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee demanded to know where Republican 3rd Congressional District candidates David Castillo and Jaime Herrera stand on the “ant” metaphor, and whether they agree with Boehner’s bombshell comment that it’s time to consider increasing the Social Security retirement age to 70.

Like good politicians, both answered the question they wanted to answer rather than the one asked.

Castillo, a financial services consultant, offered a detailed response, only part of which is quoted here:

“I do believe there needs to be oversight with regard to derivatives, an area of our markets that has been unregulated . . . There are a couple of good things mixed in with things that will be damaging to consumers. It won’t end this bailout nation that we’re currently living in, and it does nothing to address the underlying programs that caused this financial crisis in the first place.”

Fees charged to retailers for use of debit cards will be passed on to consumers, creating a new commission to find “systemic risk” in the system won’t work, and prohibiting FDIC-insured banks from engaging in proprietary trading might lead to micromanagement by regulators, Castillo said, demonstrating that he has actually read the bill.

And the ant? “I don’t necessarily agree with his analogy,” Castillo said.

And making seniors wait until age 70 to draw Social Security?

“I’m more in favor of doing a gradual indexing. Phase it in. The only way we’ll be able to reform Social Security is to index it to longevity rates.”

Herrera, through her spokesman, Casey Bowman, offered this response:

“Democrats in DC have failed to focus on solving the problem of ‘too big to fail,’ and have thus protected big firms on Wall Street at the expense of small businesses and families on Main Street. We can’t have a system where big corporations are free to take huge risks, and if they pay off their CEO’s reap huge rewards, but if they fail the American taxpayers are on the hook for massive bailouts.”

On retirement at 70: “Contrary to DCCC’s inflammatory attacks, Jaime has not taken a position in support of raising the retirement age.”

No word on what Herrera thinks should be done about “the ant.”

Kathie Durbin

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