At a hearing on the “pay czar,” he doesn’t mince words.

We don’t need a Special Master to level the playing field. We just need to take the crony out of crony capitalism so we can get back to the real thing.

You’ll see that his prepared remarks are mostly rhetorical. You can complain that he does not spell out in detail how to do things differently. But this is not a hearing on financial regulation in general. It is a hearing on the pay czar. And I think Russ is doing the right thing.

An experienced team of pickpockets can have some of its members use a little street theater to distract passersby, whose wallets are then stolen by the other members of the team. The pay czar serves a similar purpose. Instead of looking at whether government-subsidized mortgage credit is a good idea, or whether the Fed is focusing on banks profitability with the overall economy as an afterthought, the pay czar gets the news media to focus on pay and bonuses.

Street theater.

UPDATE: More on the hearing, from Russ.