Spitzer the Pot Calling the Fed Kettle Black
Eliot Spitzer, whose job as the former Attorney General of New York was to convict criminals, was forced to quit himself as Governor for his illegal solicitation of prostitutes that he funded with secretive ATM withdrawals of government funds. Now, Mr. Spitzer is getting on his soapbox and telling others the Federal Reserve has been committing a Ponzi Scheme.
There are a lot of conspiracy theories floating around regarding the Fed’s motives and questions relating to the benefits of those receiving government bailout funds. Dylan Ratigan’s interview of Mr. Spitzer on MSNBC feeds into these conspiracy views. I can buy into conflicts of interests and the need for more transparency arguments, but let’s be realistic, this is not the DaVinci Code, this is the slow, bureaucratic Federal Government. Even if you buy into this skeptical belief, the Fed isn’t exactly a “black box.” The Fed proactively provides the minutes from its private meetings and systematically releases a full accounting of the Fed’s balance sheet (assets).
Mr. Spitzer and other critics point to the egregious benefits handed down to the banks and financial institutions through the bailouts and monetary system actions. Well, wasn’t that the idea? I thought our banking system (and the global banking system) was on the verge of collapse and we were trying to save the world from impending disaster? So, I think most people get the fact that our financial institutions needed a lifeline to prevent worse outcomes from occurring.
Should the Fed have carte blanche on all financial system decisions? Certainly not, but extreme situations like this generational financial crisis we are slogging through now, requires extreme measures.
Accountability I believe is even more important than the micro-managing transparency details Ron Paul (Republican/Libertarian Congressman from Texas) and others are asking for. If indeed it is the Fed’s job to remain an independent body, then maybe it’s not Congress’ job to question every word and minor decision. However, when it comes to these massive bailouts (AIG, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, etc.), additional details and accountability should be provided and seems fair. What we don’t need are more regulatory bodies and committees creating more inefficiencies in an already tangled system of regulatory fiefdoms.
Before Mr. Spitzer starts pointing his finger at the black Fed-kettle, perhaps he should get his illegal decision making pot in order first?
Wade W. Slome, CFA, CFP®
Plan. Invest. Prosper.