By Guy Page
President Joe Biden’s nominee to run the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) is a graduate of Moscow State University, “whose radical ideas might make even Bernie Sanders blush,” the Wall Street Journal opined earlier this month.
Saule Omarova is an enthusiastic supporter of centralized government planning, which resulted in constant, massive food shortages in the Soviet Union in which she was born. “The pain and suffering caused to real people by the Soviet Union’s shortage of food and necessities caused by central planning is no laughing matter. Government-run economies like the one Professor Omarova proposed don’t work,” Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) said on the Senate floor October 20.
The OCC charters, regulates, and supervises all national banks and federal savings associations as well as federal branches and agencies of foreign banks. It is an independent bureau of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Saule Omarova was nominated by Biden to replace Michael Hsu, pending approval by the Senate Banking Committee and the full Senate.
Just how radical is Cornell professor Saule Omarova, native of Russia who studied economics at Moscow State University on the V.I. Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship?
According to research by U.S. Senate Banking Committee member Pat Toomey (R-PA):
- Last year Omarova said she would “effectively end banking as we know it.”
- In a 2016 paper, she recommended allowing the Federal Reserve to set prices in large sectors of the U.S. economy that she deems to be ‘systemically important prices’ including widely used fuels, foodstuffs, other raw materials, and wages and salaries.
- In a 2020 white paper Omarova proposed creating a National Investment Authority to channel both public and private capital to further policies that will be set by an unelected, unaccountable board. The American people don’t get to decide how their tax dollars get allocated by holding members of Congress accountable through elections. Instead, there would be some board that would make these decisions for us, Toomey said.
So – would these ideas in fact make Bernie blush? If the Banking Committee approves her nomination, will Sen. Sanders – the Chair of the Senate Finance Committee – support Omarova? Vermont Daily Chronicle asked Sanders’ press spokesperson for a comment this morning. Any response will be published immediately.
What is known is that other left-leaning New England senators strongly back Omarova. On October 7, Banking Committee Chair Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Rhode Island) called criticism of Omarova “McCarthyism.”
“First, I would like to say a word about our Committee and our tolerance for character assassinations. Until yesterday, I thought we all recognized that McCarthyism has no place in our democratic society,” Brown said. “Any American citizen who fled communist repression – whether FDIC Chair Jelena McWilliams or OCC nominee Saule Omarova – should be lauded for her courage and her conviction. Anyone who hears Professor Omarova’s story of life in the Soviet Union will understand how offensive the attacks on her character are. I have faith that my colleagues, on both sides of the aisle, will reject these modern-day ‘red scare’ tactics.”
Brown was responding to questions and criticisms aimed at Omarova the day before by Toomey, including a letter asking Omarova to explain why her thesis,“Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in The Capital,” which she authored while studying at Moscow State University, recently disappeared from her resume.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren also is a strong supporter of Omarova, according to Politico.
Guy Page is publisher of the Vermont Daily Chronicle. Reprinted with permission.