What Do You Have To Hide? (III)

If it wasn’t enough to have Bloomberg sue the Federal Reserve, now we have Fox Business News suing the US Treasury for refusing to disclose information asked for under the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA].

I don’t have much to say here (for now) because I have not seen the complaint yet, but I would say that American citizens are entitled to know the details of the bailout plans because they are a large part of the Federal budget, supported by our taxes.  The same is true for the actions of the Federal Reserve, because they are messing with the value of the US Dollars we hold.

What does the Treasury have to hide?:

  • How were the amounts of relief chosen?
  • Who qualifies for relief, and why did you turn some away?
  • Why did AIG get special treatment?
  • Why didn’t you bail out Lehman?
  • What Constitutional authority do you have for doing any of this?
  • Why do you think that auto companies can get relief here, given the terms of the bailout bill?

This is a mess, though less of a mess than the one at the Federal Reserve.  Our choices are hard today because of previous choices where we relaxed monetary/credit policy at points where it would have been painful.  We are facing far more pain today as a result.

It;s a pity that the incoming administation doesn’t get it.  Reducing leverage slowly should be priority number one.


  • DougM says:

    On the contrary, the government seems to be terrified at any hint of deleveraging, because people have been propping up the economy with borrowed money for a LONG time.

    Imagine what would happen to consumer spending if you took away everyone’s credit cards!

    You are right, however. We do need to deleverage. I’m not sure that the government will be able to withstand the political damage, though.

  • Jeff says:

    Most of the questions you ask have been answered on the public record. They are available for our evaluation.

    In the case of Lehman, the Fed could not take the collateral because it did not qualify. If they had, you would have been leading the charge in objecting. Treasury had no authority.

    In the case of AIG, there was concern about counter-party risk that extended worldwide. We got a demonstration of that from Lehman.

    I am mystified by your criticism of the Obama administration — yet to weigh in on this.

    As a careful, loyal, respectful, and interested reader of your work, I have some questions. You have been critical of elected officials, appointed officials, independent bodies — in fact — every agency of government. Just how do you think we should be setting policy?

    Is there some other country or system that is doing this better?

    Just wondering…

  • slick says:

    Well, Jeff, don’t you see? Bloggers all over the world have THE answers. It is such bad luck for all of us that we don’t have the critics/bloggers making the decisions. /sarcasm off.

    I suppose it’s nothing new to see the masses taking potshots from the sidelines. It’s not that they’re necessarily wrong – but they really don’t know. But God forbid they AGREED with the powers-that-be, then how would they appear smart? It’s not an accident that just about everyone seems to know that the Fed and Treasury are doing the wrong thing. The masses (read: those without power) would have us believe that they all know better. I’m glad we’ll never get to see what would happen if the critics had the power.

  • Jeff, you know that I think highly of you as well. I will give you a response in the form of a post this week, sometime. I need to think about it.

  • Paul in Kansas City says:

    Great dialogue; Jeff it is good to see you post and I have found your comments on your blog extremely helpful. I wish I were in Chicago to “pick your brain” as one of your (older at 44) students!!

    Merry Xmas/Happy Holidays to All here!

    Paul in Kansas City