Omarova Invokes Margaret Thatcher to Justify State Control

November 21, 2021 Updated: November 23, 2021

Commentary

What can we say about Saule Omarova, President Joe Biden’s nominee to the important Treasury position of head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency?

I think of her as the Rosa Klebb of the Biden “let’s destroy America” pool of apparatchiks.

You remember Rosa. She was the anaphrodisiac Bond villain in “From Russia With Love.” 

In the movie version, she had moved on from a high-ranking position in Soviet counterintelligence to working as “No. 3” for Ernst Stavro Blofeld, the pussy cat-petting evil mastermind played with consummate creepiness by Donald Pleasence.

Particularly memorable were Rosa’s shoes, whose toes contained a poison-tipped needle with which she killed her victims.

Has anyone taken the trouble to investigate Omarova’s footwear? I merely ask.

While waiting for an answer, I note that she took a bachelor’s degree equivalent at Moscow State University in the bad old Cold War days.

She came to the United States in 1991 and took a doctorate at the University of Wisconsin.

She’s now a professor at Cornell University—a sort of Moscow by Cayuga Falls—where she specializes in “regulation of financial institutions, banking law, international finance, and corporate finance.” Emphasis, comrades, on “regulation.”

She has declined to share her undergraduate thesis on “Karl Marx’s Economic Analysis and the Theory of Revolution in ‘The Capital’” with U.S. senators charged with assessing her fitness for the Treasury position.

Doubtless, that was prudent.

After all, a paper on that subject might well dilate on the revolutionary idea that “property is theft” (as Proudhon insisted) or the anti-bourgeois potential of redistribution of wealth.

It turns out that Omarova early on did some fieldwork in that area, as attested by her arrest in 1995 for shoplifting at an emporium called TJ Maxx. (Was it shoes that she purloined?)

She later moved on to bigger things. In a remarkable video clip unearthed in the course of her nomination hearings, she predicts that major pieces of the oil, coal, and gas industries will go bankrupt—“at least,” she explained, “we want them to go bankrupt if we want to tackle climate change.”

Powerline’s Scott Johnson got it exactly right.

“A capable successor to Robert Ludlum,” he writes, “might be able to make a good novel out of The Omarova Omen.”

Imagine picking a communist-trained economist who wants to bankrupt the engine of the American economy to battle a phantom enemy, “climate change.”

But this is exactly what Biden did. Which leads Johnson to his sad conclusion. The Ludlum novel would be de trop because the “Omarova omen has already materialized in the politics and public policy that have kicked off the dire economic trends with which we contend.”

Johnson quotes from an incisive column by James Freeman in The Wall Street Journal commenting on the industrial-strength duplicity in Omarova’s Senate testimony last week.

Asked about a paper in which she outlined a plan for the government to take ownership stakes in big financial firms, she said “I’m with Margaret Thatcher on this one.”

Oh, really?

Freeman observes that “this would have been Washington’s most deceptive comment of the day if House members had not been debating the reconciliation bill.”

But what was behind Omarova’s claiming the mantle of the avidly pro-privatizing Margaret Thatcher?

Thereby hangs a tale.

As Freeman notes, the Thatcher government, in order to mobilize the political wherewithal to privatize inefficient and corrupt state-run industries, had to be wary of foreign actors gaining control of key industries.

She had to retain, temporarily, a government stake in those industries as it shepherded them to private ownership.

“Thatcher’s team,” Freeman explains, “was agreeing to let the government keep a piece of an asset as the price for getting it out of total state control and into productive private hands.”

Omarova, on the contrary, is advocating something close to the opposite.

She wants the government to insinuate itself and play a bigger role in industries that are now in private hands.

Thatcher was willing to prolong a measure of governmental control as the price for abolishing that corrupt and counterproductive political-economic model.

Omarova wants to subject companies that are now in private hands to precisely the sorts of central state control that Thatcher was determined to abolish.

“I’m with Thatcher,” meaning, I am working to destroy everything she stood for.

It’s all in the dialectic, you see. Nice work if you can get it.

So maybe, Scott Johnson speculates, “it’s not too late for Omarova to inspire a good Ludlum-style novel after all.”

How so? The key, he points out, is in the subhead to Freeman’s article: “Some aspiring apparatchiks will say anything to seize power.”

The last time I checked, Biden’s approval rating was cratering in some polls to 36 percent.

I hope I am right in predicting that Omarova will fail to win confirmation.

But a few more nominees like her and the Biden administration may well be in negative numbers.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Roger Kimball is the editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books. His most recent book is “Who Rules? Sovereignty, Nationalism, and the Fate of Freedom in the 21st Century.”