confidentiality, Federal Reserve, financial reform, George W. Bush, Obama Justice Department, openness and transparency, Troubled Asset Relief Program
Gretchen Morgenson in yesterday’s New York Times on the lack of action on financial reform from our alleged representatives in the District of Columbia
“As Washington spins its wheels on financial reform, it’s becoming painfully clear that the problem of entities that are too interconnected or “too politically powerful to fail” is also too hard for our policy makers to tackle.”
What Ms. Morgenson calls Washington “spinning its wheels,” is more appropriately named the “appease the peasants” circus. That time-honored D.C. tradition of giving the appearance of doing something while actually, and intentionally, doing nothing. And it’s not that it’s “too hard to tackle,” they have a financial interest in not tackling it.
“As taxpayers, we obviously can’t rely on lawmakers to address the risks we face from the ever-expanding corporate safety net thrown under teetering behemoths. But because we are footing the bills for these rescues — and will do so again if more crises occur — don’t you agree that we should know what these implied federal guarantees will cost us?…If the government won’t reduce the size of the safety net, and it has shown no appetite for doing so, it should at least tell us the price tag.”
To the contrary, “the government”—and not just the Capitol Hill gang but those who give lip service to openness and transparency at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue—is doing everything in its power to keep us from seeing that “price tag” as well as who received what.
“The Federal Reserve asked a U.S. appeals court to block a ruling that for the first time would force the central bank to reveal secret identities of financial firms that might have collapsed without the largest government bailout in U.S. history.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Manhattan will decide whether the Fed must release records of the unprecedented $2 trillion U.S. loan program launched after the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.”
The Obama Justice Department cites the need for secrecy “confidentiality:”
“Confidentiality is essential to the success of the board’s statutory mission to maintain the health of the nation’s financial system and conduct monetary policy,” Assistant U.S. Attorney General Tony West and Fed lawyer Richard Ashton wrote in a legal brief to the appeals court.”
Never mind this:
“The lawsuit, brought under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act, came as President Barack Obama criticized the previous administration’s handling of the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program passed by Congress in October 2008. Obama has said funds were spent by the administration of former President George W. Bush with little accountability or transparency.”
Hypocrisy you can believe in.