Taxpayers demand an audit!!Submitted by libertybrewcity on Fri, 08/07/2009 - 00:19
Taxpayers to Fed: Show Us the Money
An analyst says the central bank is too secretive.
By Anne Kates Smith, Senior Associate Editor
From Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine, September 2009
A bill that would give government auditors more access to the Fed's books is gaining momentum in Congress. Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, in Washington, D.C., supports the idea.
You've been an outspoken advocate of auditing the Fed. How come?
Think about all the concern over the $800 billion spent through the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program. Yet the Fed has more than doubled its balance sheet to nearly $2 trillion. You can see on the Fed's Web site how much has gone to each of its lending facilities. But you don't know how much Citibank might have borrowed, or Goldman Sachs.
I don't understand all the secrecy. It's the public's money, not Ben Bernanke's. I don't assume the Fed has done anything improper -- but it's a huge amount of money and there's no accountability.
What do you want to see in an audit?
My main focus is what happened to that money in the bailout. Who got what, and under what conditions? What was the collateral? There's concern that the Fed relaxed standards for money it lent during the financial crisis. Are there banks that didn't pay it back? Banks behind in the payback schedule?
I don't want the Fed audited gratuitously, just an accounting at regular periods. If once a year is too onerous, then maybe once every two years.