Column: To Find the Equifax Culprit, ...

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Congress Must Probe Itself

A state-of-the art ATM screen, brought to you by a public-private "partnership." (Original image of dirty tile via Unsplash.)
The ongoing Congressional investigation of the Equifax data breach reminds me of a running joke my mother and I had about the old detective series, Murder She Wrote. What if the guilty party all along was the last person we expected, and Jessica Fletcher was really a serial killer who framed random strangers? Except that having our financial information written on a bathroom wall isn't a joke. And, as we shall see, Congress grandstanding about fixing it is a bad one.

Let's consider how the current hearings might instead prevent us from finding out what really happened and how to prevent it from happening again. It may have been fun to hear about the new Equifax CEO admitting that he doesn't know whether his company encrypts our personal information. At least he's being held accountable Gus! you say. But this is a hard problem, which he was only very recently brought in to address. More to the point,Congress effectively made itself the CEO of every credit bureau nearly fifty years ago when it passed the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)...

To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets.

I would like to thank reader Steve D. and my wife for their comments on earlier versions of this piece.

-- CAV


Anonymous said...

Hi Gus,

I had a similar joke with my Mom. I wondered who in their right mind would invite Jessica Fletcher ANYWHERE; party, guest, hotel, etc., it didn't seem to matter but the one sure thing was that someone was gonna get killed.

She should have contracted out as a professional party pooper.

"Guests staying too long in your house? Your house party guests are annoying the neighbors? Inviting Police Attention?

"Have no fear. Call Jessica Fletcher and your guests will disappear!"

(Studio Re-enactment. Host and party guests played by actors)

"Your attention please. This party has gone on too long. The neighbors are starting to complain. The police presence outside is apparently insufficient. So I've just placed a call to Jessica Fletcher. She will be arriving within the quarter hour."

"Cripes Greg. We'd better cheese it while we still have a pulse!

(Chaotic departures, incidental tramplings, etc.)


"Company not liable for death or damages arising from the arrival of Ms. Fletcher. Payment of fees must be upon Ms. Fletcher's arrival or she will take up residence in your home. Offer void in Rhode Island and Hawaii. Offer void where regulated or prohibited. Past performance is no guarantee of future outcome. Certified in 48 states and the District of Columbia. Party Interruptus (PI) license number ML413624. See JD Power and Associates for award information. Process UL listed, Consumer Reports Approved.

c andrew

Gus Van Horn said...


I accidentally used the name "Fletcher" instead of "Harper" on a draft and Steve suggested making a "no relation" joke there, before adding that he wouldn't want to be a guest at a dinner party she was attending.

That would have been funny partially at my expense, so I'm glad I caught it.