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Can We Get Some Transparency Over Here?

The recent financial turmoil has demonstrated to industry observers (and surprisingly, some members of Congress) that they can't turn their heads for a moment less a few ten or hundred billion slip by into the private sector unnoticed. The Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) is an excellent example.

In the second most famous incident to date, Representative Barney Frank (D- MA, Chairman House Financial Services Committee) incredulously asked after learning that Treasury Secretary Paulson was less desirous of buying bad mortgages, you're doing WHAT with the money?

Long time observers of Congress had to chuckle at the sight of a well known House infighter like Frank getting his comeuppance from a Wall Street appointee like Paulson. Apparently Congressman Frank didn't read the last draft of TARP before it was voted on but Secretary Paulson evidently did. (Note to Representative Frank: always read the final draft when you're dealing with investment bankers.). As the abovementioned hearings made clear, Paulson will do whatever he wants with the money.

But that's not all. There's another banker in town that's making Paulson look like a piker. Ben Bernanke has spent $2,000,000,000,000 to date and and he's refusing to tell the press what he spent the money on. Imagine that.

Chairman Bernanke has been methodically loaning money on assets pledged by financial institutions (many of which heretofore were ineligible by law for Fed loans) for months now. In short, the Federal Reserve has stated as new policy that it will loan money to a wider range of financial institutions, that it will accept as collateral a wider range of securities, but it will not tell taxpayers who is getting the money and what kind of assets are being pledged.

Will President Obama bring some transparency to this arrangement or will it be business as usual. Why are Democrats so quiet about this? Why isn't the legacy media all over this story? A central banker spends two trillion dollars of taxpayer money and won't say what he did with it?


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Comments (7)

This sounds suspiciously li... (Below threshold)

This sounds suspiciously like saying we have a right to know where our troops are planning to attack since the taxpayers are paying for the bombs and bullets. Frank acknowledges in that article that it's probably a mistake to be giving out this information publicly. How long do you think a bank would last if it came out that they had to apply for emergency funding due to some temporary shakiness? Just ask Chuck Schumer and IndyMac. That said, it would be a good idea to have someone putting together some summaries for closed Congressional hearings.

Well we have been told in t... (Below threshold)
jk:

Well we have been told in the past where troops were going to attack. We are going to invade Iraq, we are going to liberate Kuait, we are going to bomb Yugoslavia, we are going to invade France, we are going to upgrade these specific weapons systems to win the cold war, etc... All prior communicated actions intended as major steps on the path to success and victory.

We don't need the gritty details, we do need to know what we are doing, and going to do, to ensure success. Just a list of the companies without amounts, or a list of industry segments by amount will indicate if we are on a path to success or utter failure. If he has sunk one trillion in segments with valueless assets, then we know it is a bailout rather than a loan.

perhaps I wasn't clear enou... (Below threshold)

perhaps I wasn't clear enough - I was referring to the newspaper requests for times and exact locations of attacks - 'we will be attacking this town at 0800'. the list of companies by itself would be the problematic issue. Again, just ask IndyMac for a nice example. And, again, there's no reason they can't give this to Congress behind closed doors so people don't stampede down to these banks.

How the hell do you make th... (Below threshold)
Brian:

How the hell do you make this an Obama story? Bush, Paulson, and Bernanke steal 2 trillion of tax dollars and won't tell Congress what they did with it, and your rant is that you hope Obama does something about it a month from now? And you fault your favorite scapegoat, the supposed left-wing media, for not reporting on the actions of Bush and his cronies?

Did Kevin hire someone from The Onion to write here?

step 1) Get your head out o... (Below threshold)

step 1) Get your head out of your rear.

step 2) Learn how to read.

step 3) Learn to comprehend what you read.

step 4) Reread what Hugh wrote.

step 5) Return your head to your rear. We're all better off that way.

"summaries for closed Congr... (Below threshold)
SillyPuddy:

"summaries for closed Congressional hearings."

sh yes cause you can really trust a bunch of congressmen not to leak it, these dipchits can't even keep defense intelligence info quite for long your how long do you think names and details would start to leak after such a briefing. Rumors like would probably be worse then even going public with the information.

SP - yeah, I know, but at l... (Below threshold)

SP - yeah, I know, but at least then they can't complain about not being informed and if it does come out they can be held accountable (we wish!). Still, they do OK sometimes keeping stuff under their hats - after all, look how long it took to come out that Pelosi and other top Democrats not only knew about the waterboarding and gave it tacit approval, but asked if we were going far enough.




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