Don't Get Fooled Again
The Fed botched banking regulation once already. So why does Obama want to give it more power?
When did the Fed ask the banks it is responsible for overseeing how they evaluated the potential risk of expanded derivatives trading and how these banks assessed the stability of their counterparties?
What analysis had the Fed done of the general leverage ratios in the financial-services sector and the need for additional capitalization? Had it done any "stress tests" during this period, or did it believe that there would never be an economic downturn?
And a few questions related to the Fed's governance:
Is the N.Y. Fed willing to release minutes and attendance records of the past five years, even if redacted to avoid company-specific information? How can the public be assured that this powerful institution is focusing on the right issues?
Since the N.Y. Fed is controlled by the very institutions that were at the heart of the meltdown, and these institutions used the Fed to give themselves hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars to resuscitate their balance sheets without any public scrutiny, will the Fed release any conflict-of-interest rules it has in place to assure the public that board members do not act on policies that will affect their own corporate interests?
Six of the nine members of the N.Y. Fed board are supposed to be "public" representatives, yet these individuals have all too often been CEOs of major corporations or financial entities. How does the Fed define "public" board members, and what is the process by which those board members are selected?
And some questions about its prospective functions:
The Fed itself states that "the safety, soundness and vitality of our economic system" is its responsibility. How exactly are these terms measured? By GDP growth? Bank profits? Job growth? Growth of median household income? Without knowing how it will measure success, how can we measure whether the Fed is succeeding or failing?
How does the Fed believe it can regulate "systemic risk" meaningfully if institutions remain "too big to fail," necessitating that the federal government be an insurer of their risk in any serious downturn?
How does the Fed plan to limit the interconnectedness of the major institutions to prevent the risk of dominos falling sequentially?