by Ailan Evans
President Joe Biden’s pick to run a top Wall Street regulatory agency division once praised the former Soviet Union for its gender equality.
Cornell Law School Professor Saule Omarova, who was announced as Biden’s nominee to head the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) on Thursday, tweeted in March 2019 her support of the USSR’s gender equality in the workplace.
“Until I came to the US, I couldn’t imagine that things like gender pay gap still existed in today’s world,” Omarova wrote. “Say what you will about old USSR, there was no gender pay gap there. Market doesn’t always ‘know best.’”
Omarova was writing in response to a Financial Times headline that claimed accounting firm KMPG had a “median gender pay gap of 28%.” Omarova went on to praise the former Soviet Union’s state control of salaries, saying the gender equality such measures produced was unthinkable in the United States.
“But people’s salaries were set (by the state) in a gender-blind manner. And all women got very generous maternity benefits. Both things are still a pipe dream in our society!” Omarova wrote.
The professor later clarified her point, softening her initial claim.
“I realize now how NOT having an officially sanctioned gender pay gap is, in and of itself, a huge achievement. Yet, I took it for granted growing up in USSR. I find that deeply ironic and unsettling,” she wrote.
Omarova and the White House did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.
As head of the OCC, a division of the Treasury Department, Omarova would oversee the regulation and management of national banks, including 1,200 financial institutions and $14 trillion in assets within her purview, according to The Wall Street Journal.
A vocal critic of big banks and entrenched Wall Street orthodoxy, Omarova’s nomination follows the Biden administration’s trend of pushing for aggressive consumer advocates in regulatory roles. Biden tapped Big Tech critic Lina Khan to head the Federal Trade Commission and progressive-backed Rohit Chopra to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
In a paper titled “The People’s Ledger: How to Democratize Money and Finance the Economy,” Omarova argued for the creation of a central bank digital currency or CBDC, mentioning in the opening line of the paper’s abstract the urgency of “digitizing sovereign money and ensuring universal access to banking services.”
The paper explored ideas that would “radically redefine the role of a central bank as the ultimate public platform for generating, modulating, and allocating financial resources in a democratic economy.”
Omarova has also been outspoken about her skepticism of cryptocurrencies, criticizing the impact its mining has on the environment and expressing doubt the technology is a means of creating a more inclusive financial system. She previously tweeted her support for China’s aggressive regulation of financial technologies, writing “I now agree that China’s experience offers some valuable lessons for the US.”
Reports of Omarova’s nomination were cheered on by Sen. Elizabeth Warren, also a vocal critic of cryptocurrency, who told The New York Times she expected Omarova to be a “fearless champion for consumers.”
Omarova’s tenure at the OCC could see progress toward a CBDC, as Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell announced Wednesday the Federal Reserve will look into whether to implement its own digital currency and said he expected to issue a paper on the matter in the near future.
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Ailan Evans is a reporter at Daily Caller News Foundation.
Photo “Saule Omarova” by Saule Omarova.