Magazine October 19, 2009, Issue

Ms. Bair Stays in Washington

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairwoman Sheila Bair speaks during her testimony at the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. July 23, 2009. (Larry Downing/Reuters )
The head of the FDIC, under Bush and Obama, is a poor fit for the job

In making the case that the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation ought to be given more power over financial institutions, chairman Sheila Bair often invokes what she sees as its proud past. “For 75 years, the FDIC has quickly and effectively resolved failed banks,” she said in an April speech. “We are good at this. We have had a lot of practice over the years.”

This address, like others by Bair, received fawning press coverage. Bair is credited with helping to restore public confidence in banks during the financial crisis and preventing bank runs like those of the 1930s. But more negative

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