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S-E-C! S-E-C! NEXT. RANK. INGS!
The Securities Exchange Commission came online on this day in 1934. So when we think of SEC, we think rankings, don't we? Come check out the next edition of presidential rankings.
The Securities Exchange Committee (SEC) turns 86 years old today, June 6. Born out of the stock market crash of 1929, the newly formed independent agency established its mission to protect the market. It’s like the government created a superhero!
It's a bird; it's a plane; it's a commissioner coming to save investors!
The SEC achieves its stated objective by making public companies produce annual reports and narratives from the CEO. Say you run a make-believe company, let's call it The Okay Company. We create widgets, which are…just okay. (But the brand is strong).
For example, an annual report might look like this:
In 2021, The Okay Company made zero money because no one wants our widgets.
And just like that, the SEC work here is done.
There have been 33 Chairpersons of the SEC, and okaysec.com is available if you are motivated to rank and blog about it. Interestingly, the inaugural Chairman was Joseph Kennedy Sr.
Speaking of ranking, we have now entered the second tier of presidents. We will change a bit of the formatting and the ugly section will now be “um…okay.” This section could go either way.
Let’s get after it!
Big Ben - also just okay!
29: Benjamin Harrison
2017 Ranking: 30
2019 Ranking: 30
Term – March 4, 1889 –March 4, 1893
Harrison really loved the Dawes Act, which was a law that allowed the president to force American Indians into digging capitalism. Basically, Indians had to sell their land to white guys at low prices because we wanted them to feel screwed just like everyone else.
Um - Okay:
Harrison sent troops to South Dakota to put down a suspected Indian uprising. It turned out to be the Battle of Wounded Knee, and we killed around 250 Lakota Indians.
Why did I rank him here?
Harrison was one of five presidents elected to office, even though he did not win the popular vote. You can find what I think about a few of them. Most historians, like actual historians, tend to review Harrison more positively. Still, I figured starting the second tier here sounded about right.
Out of 44 presidents, only 14 have won reelection. It remains a challenge to rank these mostly forgettable leaders. We will begin to get into more well-known presidents soon enough.
28: Martin Van Buren
2017 Ranking: 29
2019 Ranking: 29
Term – March 4, 1837 – March 4, 1841
Before him, the first seven presidents were especially noteworthy, so Van Buren takes the crown as the first forgettable president. Congrats, Marty!
The country faced some difficult economic times in 1837, right after MVB took office. Known as the Panic of 1837, major banks wouldn’t back paper currency with gold. As a result, five years of depression followed.
Um - Okay:
Van Buren peacefully negotiated a border dispute with Britain in 1838. Although the people in Maine at the time thought the boundaries settled on were not in their favor, Van Buren drew up a map that made it seem better.
Why did I rank him here?
Van Buren is instrumental to the creation of this blog – specifically the okay part. In the 1840 election versus William Henry Harrison, the incumbent president needed to match the catchy campaign names of his famous military hero opponent – “Old Tippecanoe.” The Whig ticket even threw in the Vice President, “Tippecanoe and Tyler too!”
To counter this, supporters of MVB created "OK" about the president's birth home, Kinderhook, New York. You were "OK" if you backed the president.
You are also “OK” if you like and share this blog.
Who is your most forgettable president?