Outing the Fed

It is said that we get the government we deserve. Well, if this is true, then judging by the vitriol spilling out of the mouths of some of our elected representatives, we are all morons.

Here’s the latest, from the Nation: Outing the Fed. Some selected tidbits with commentary follow.

Rep. Alan Grayson, the first-term Florida Democrat who partnered with Paul to pass the House version, has a distinctive way of explaining things with brutal clarity. “Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke doesn’t want an audit because Ben Bernanke doesn’t want to be audited,” Grayson said. “Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, the former head of the New York Fed, doesn’t want an audit because Tim eithner doesn’t want to be audited.”

This sanctimonious twit should be tarred and feathered for his hypocrisy. (Wouldn’t we all love to see the skeletons in his closet). In any case, he continues to propagate the myth that the Fed is never audited. I have addressed this issue here.

Forget all the official blabber about “Fed independence.” The central bank has never been independent from the most powerful bankers it is supposed to regulate. The everyday relationship is incestuous. What the Fed and its main constituency of Wall Street power houses really fear is that people will get a better look at their corrupt private dealings. During the financial crisis, the central bank handed out something like $2 trillion in emergency loans and other goodies. All efforts by Grayson and others to find out who exactly got this money were rebuffed by the Fed governors. Bloomberg sued for disclosure and won in Federal court. The Fed is appealing the ruling.

Please explain this “everyday incentuous relationship” that the Fed evidently has with the big banks it is “supposed to regulate.” As I explained here, the Fed has primary regulatory authority over only 15% of the nation’s banks (whether measured by number of banks, or by assets). What on earth are they talking about here?

Yes, during the crisis the Fed did “hand out” something like 2 trillion in emergency loans (and other “goodies”? like what?). What is conveniently ignored here is that most of this emergency lending has been repaid with penalty interest rates. Perhaps they have failed to notice that the Fed remitted an extra $25 billion or so in 2009 to the Treasury; see here. Yes, yes…I demand to know who the Fed lent all this money to that was ultimately repaid with a very high return! Who were the recipients of this bailout!? (Blah, blah, blah…in the meantime, with Congress handing out bona fide bailout money to its favored special interests…)

Disclaimer: This page contains affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase after clicking a link, we may receive a commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you for your support!

About David Andolfatto 95 Articles

Affiliation: Simon Fraser University and St. Louis Fed

David Andolfatto is a Vice President in the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. He is also a professor of economics at Simon Fraser University.

Professor Andolfatto earned his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Western Ontario in 1994, M.A. and B.B.A. from Simon Fraser University. He was associate professor at the University of Waterloo before moving to Simon Fraser University in 2000.

His current research is focused on reconciling theories of money and banking. His past research has examined questions relating to the business cycle, contract design, bank-runs, unemployment insurance, monetary policy regimes, endogenous debt constraints, and technology diffusion.

Visit: MacroMania, David Andolfatto's Page

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.