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How much more of the bailout can we bear?

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By Robert E. Beckner

Are you ready for some “blockbuster” or “unbelievable” news regarding more loans being made - and we’re not talking about the $700 plus billion White House-approved package that the Treasury Department is rapidly going through?  Plus, now, they are even asking for more.

It was just a few days ago that knowledge of the Federal Reserve’s  “lending” hundreds of billions of additional dollars to troubled companies and institutions surfaced.  It’s estimated they have given out almost $2 trillion dollars.  So this will impress you, a trillion is $1,000 billion dollars!

We can thank the Bloomberg News for providing this outrageous revelation on the huge bailouts.  This came out as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the Fed, seeking details of the “emergency loans” and what collateral the Fed has accepted as protection against losses. 

So far the Fed has refused to provide this needed information to the public, (you and me) as taxpayers who are footing the bill or even to our elected Representatives where the money is going. 

The Fed claims that it is “confidential information”.  If you can believe it, Congress has taken a hands-off position and has been of no help in getting further information on this matter.

The major media, as usual, has kept quiet so far.  Only one conservative voice has spoken out about this colossal transfer of wealth.  That is CNN’s Lou Dobbs, on his Nov. 10 program. 

CNN’s Lisa Schiavone told Dobbs’ audience, “The Federal Reserve tells CNN that about $1.5 trillion in loans have been issued by the Central Bank.  It’s an extraordinary amount of money considering the fact that in the summer of 2007, outstanding Fed loans stood at $100 million.  But out of concern for the reputation and soundness of the institutions involved, the Fed will not report who is getting the money now and what collateral they’re using.”

Finally and belatedly,  a few members of Congress have jumped on the Bloomberg/ CNN band wagon saying, “There cannot be accountability in government and in our financial institutions without transparency.”

This was said by Texas Senator John Cornyn on Nov. 13.  He further added, “Many of the financial problems we are facing today are the direct result of too much secrecy and too little accountability.”

Representative Walter B. Jones, (R-NC) sent a letter on Nov. 12, to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appealing for “transparency.”

“I strongly urge you to immediately reconsider your decision to deny the Bloomberg News request.  The Federal Reserve should know better than anyone that blocking transparency in financial markets will only delay American economic recovery.”

House Republican leader John Boehner, Jeb Hensarling of Texas and Scott Garrett of New Jersey have also criticized Bernanke and the Fed for refusing to divulge information.

It’s a shame the small number of Senators and Reps taking on this issue as well as the weakness of their pleas, in light of the seriousness of the unprecedented exercise of power by the Fed. 

The elected officials seem to just be conceding to the Fed, the power to continue pouring whatever amounts of newly created credit into whichever entities it chooses, as long as it is “transparent” about it. 

All they have to do is tell Congress and the public how much is going to whom.

Can you remember during the just past primaries and even before that, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) warned that the Fed’s powers are not only destructive but also even unconstitutional and incompatible with either prosperity or liberty?  

Some of all this places blame on Congress for not listening to Rep. Paul.  He even urged them to exercise their constitutional duty to abolish the Fed.  But they wouldn’t listen to him and instead went just the opposite way and gave the Fed even more power, which is why it has been able to get away thus far with its enormous secret lending program.

The Fed, as well as the Secretary of the Treasury, received unconstitutionally given broad new powers under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (EESA). 

This allowed the Federal Reserve to aggressively transform itself from a mere central bank into a lender of last resort.  The Treasury Secretary is poised to become a permanent financial czar, with emergency powers that will likely remain on the books long after the current crises have passed. 

We are witnessing a bloodless coup, in which all remaining constitutional limits on the financial powers of the Federal Government are being discarded in the name of a national emergency.

If the public wants to curtail and eliminate these illicit powers, they must hold Congress responsible for allowing this pillaging of our economic system and put serious pressure on Congress to act, before it’s too late and while we still have an economy to save. 

It will take all of us to get involved, by telephone calls, e-mails, faxes, snail mail, telegrams even personal visit to their offices to bring our enormous power to bear. 

We, the people, must stop just sitting at home while “Rome burns,” being too lazy and indifferent to vote these kinds of elected officials out of office when we get the opportunity like we had recently.

Robert E. Beckner lives in Majestic Oaks with his wife, Sarah. He is a retired private investigator and insurance adjuster. He has also been a photographer and served with the Military Police in the Marine Corps.