George Will on the breathtakingly superficial and at times flatly inaccurate coverage by the New York Times and Washington Post of the nomination of Chris Cox to be chairman of the Securites and Exchange Commission. For example, the Times claimed that Cox is a “devoted student of Ayn Rand.” But Will says that Cox has never read a Rand novel.
Those who criticized the selection of Cox relied heavily on the notion that he is, in the Times’ words, “a big business advocate.” As evidence some critics pointed to the fact that Cox opposes requiring employee stock options to be recorded as expenses. However, Will points out that this stance can be considered anti-big business because not recording options as expenses helps would-be competitors, i.e., small start-up companies. Cox is pro innovation risk taking, and competition — not necessarily “pro-business.”
Finally, the Post implied that Cox suffers by comparison to the current chairman, William Donaldson, because Donaldson is old and wealthy, and thus “immune to pressure to earn a living after he left government.” It is odd for the Post to suggest that regulatory commissions should be populated by rich old men, and bizarre to imply that someone as talented as Cox (Harvard law school, Harvard business school, White House experience, nine-term Congressman) needs to worry about how he’s going to earn a living when he leaves the SEC.
JOHN adds: Haven’t liberals come to an odd pass when they suggest that only the very rich can be trusted?
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