The Depression expert: Theda Skocpol of Harvard has specialized in social history and reform movements. Her study, with Kenneth Finegold, of the divergent fates of two New Deal agencies, the failed National Recovery Administration and the more successful Agricultural Adjustment Administration, is as good a study as anyone has written on how bureaucratic realities affect the course of economic recovery efforts.
The regulator: Arguably the high-water mark of law enforcement at the Securities and Exchange Commission came during the tenure of Stanley Sporkin as enforcement chief (1974-1981). The very model of a proactive regulator, Sporkin pursued corporations for illicit political contributions and overseas bribery, leaving a trail of gnashed teeth in corporate boardrooms and on Wall Street.
The voice of the working class: Thomas Geoghegan's three-decade career as a labor lawyer, chronicled in his classic memoir "Which Side Are You On?" left him well-equipped to understand how the financial finagling of recent years, and its sucking up of money and talent from the productive end of the economy, affected the average working man and woman. "In the United States, we shrank manufacturing. We got rid of labor. Now it's just the banks," he wrote in a recent essay in Harper's Magazine about the debt bubble in America.
This is an incomplete and obviously idiosyncratic list. You're free to compile your own.
My only suggestion: Keep grandstanders to a minimum. As Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.) remarked near the close of this week's House hearing, "We've beaten a lot of dead horses today." For the sake of the equines still alive, let's turn the investigating and the proposing over to fresher hands.
Michael Hiltzik's column appears Mondays and Thursdays.
Reach him at email@example.com and read his previous columns at www.latimes.com/hiltzik.