Congressman Canseco's Opening Statement on Legislation to Repeal the Office of Financial Research

Apr 19, 2012


Washington D.C. – Congressman Francisco “Quico” Canseco (TX-23), a former small businessman and a member of the House Financial Services Committee, released the following statement on the repeal of the Office of Financial Research, a bill which he introduced: 
“This past Saturday marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. In the aftermath of that disaster, government hearings on both sides of the Atlantic found plenty of blame to go around – an irresponsible captain, a faulty design, or an attitude of arrogance that the ship was ‘unsinkable.’  All throughout it, though, very little blame was assigned to the iceberg itself, which at the end of the day is what sank the Titanic.” 
“In a similar vein our economy in 2008 was sunk by its own iceberg, but unlike the Titanic, we had plenty of warning.  For years, Congress and regulators heard warning after warning that government housing policies and the risk being built up by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were going to sink our economy.” 
“Way back in 2000 at the end of the Clinton Administration, Peter Wallison told Congress:  ‘If Fannie and Freddie are not restrained….it is no exaggeration to say that this is a threat to the private sector to the same degree it is a threat to the taxpayers.’ And In 2005, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said this:  ‘If Freddie and Fannie continue to grow….they potentially create ever growing potential systemic risks down the road.’”   
“These weren’t the only voices, but all of them were ignored by regulators and members of Congress that continued to push for government intervention in the housing market. Of course, the house of cards came crashing down and we are left today trying to dig ourselves out of it.” 
“Taking its cue from the post-Titanic inquiries, the last Congress gave us the Dodd-Frank bill and with it the Office of Financial Research.  I am profoundly confused by the logic behind all of this when the threats to our economy leading up to 2008 were so clear and transparent.”   
“You didn’t need an army of PhD’s to tell you that Fannie and Freddie were out of control, or that even a meager drop in home prices would wipe out their capital and the capital of hundreds of other financial institutions. And I remain deeply concerned about this agency with its threat to sensitive information and its misguided mission, which is why I’ve introduced a bill to repeal it, and which was adopted in amendment form by voice vote in this committee yesterday.” 
“We know what our iceberg was and what caused it to get so big – and we know more than ever that all the information in the world can’t compete with a lack of will on behalf of politicians and regulators alike.” 
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