Monday, March 30, 2009

Dictatorship of the Fed and Treasury on Behalf of Wall Street

I felt it was coming, and the honeymoon is over. Economist/journalist Robert Kuttner begins it--the direct criticism of Obama for his financial policies:

I fear that these columns have been too polite. They have directed criticisms at Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and national economic policy chief Larry Summers. Lord knows, they richly deserve the criticism. But let's not kid ourselves. The man they work for is named Barack Obama.

President Obama has promised to run an administration of unprecedented openness. And in some respects, such as the ground rules for spending stimulus funds, he has. But in the most important area of all, the financial rescue, the administration is making trillion dollar decisions relying on the Federal Reserve and a small Wall Street club of advisors, with no transparency or public accountability.

In devising their horribly convoluted and risky approach to the next phase of the banking bailout, chief economic strategist Summers and Treasury Secretary Geithner did not consult closely with Congress. The new rescue package was not legislated. There were no hearings. Rather, they met extensively with key Wall Street banking barons, to design government guarantees so lucrative that speculative hedge funds and private equity companies would bid for toxic securities clogging bank balance sheets. They would make a financial killing, but maybe banks would be recapitalized and start lending again.

Even more alarmingly, the administration is now using the Federal Reserve as an unlegislated, all-purpose slush fund. Because the Fed's operations are largely beyond the reach of Congressional appropriations or scrutiny, the Fed can do whatever it wishes with its money. The Geithner plan was negotiated behind closed doors, the main players being the Fed, the FDIC, the Treasury, and power-brokers on Wall Street.

What we have is something perilously close to a dictatorship of the Fed and the Treasury, acting in the interests of Wall Street.

Very tough language. And very tragic, because so unnecessary. The liberal-left is losing faith in Obama's economic personnel and policies, and when economics is the name-of-the-game these days, that spells political trouble. With the honeymoon over, the question is, will this marriage last, or will there be a divorce down the line? We need marriage counseling. But will Obama be interested?

No comments:

Post a Comment