Sunday, April 11, 2010

What Is Going On At The Fed?

A few weeks ago I posted about the Fed's failure to release transcripts of its 2004 FOMC meetings (these are supposed to be made public after five years, which means they should have been released over three months ago). Here's an entry from this blog's visitor log:

Federal Reserve Board (132.200.32.xx)

Washington, District Of Columbia, United States FOMC transcripts and five year delay&btnG=Google Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
7th April 2010 11:20:40 Exit Link
7th April 2010 11:20:43 Exit Link
7th April 2010 11:35:00 Page View year delay in release of FOMC transcripts &btnG=Search&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=
7th April 2010 11:35:02 Exit Link

Translation: someone at the Fed Googled "releasing FOMC transcripts and five year delay." They then spent 15 minutes reading this post and a page it links to on the Fed's website.

Anyone who contacts the Fed about the 2004 transcripts -- I have -- is told they will be "ready" soon. Is this unintentionally revealing? What exactly is being done to get them "ready"? These FOMC meetings took place six years ago. It's inconceivable that the audiotapes are being transcribed only now. Meeting participants have the opportunity to review the transcripts, and for practical reasons (fading memories, retirements, deaths, etc.) this has to happen as soon as possible after a meeting.

This is an important issue. These transcripts are not mere historical curiosities. Except for the record of speeches and testimony, they are the only window for Congress and the public to see how individual Fed officials read and respond to economic conditions in real-time. (For this reason, there should not have been a vote on Bernanke's nomination without public release of the transcripts from at least 2004, an important year in the bubble.) That window can be a source of acute embarrassment for Fed officials, as Bernanke learned during his confirmation when the disastrous policies he pushed in the 2003 FOMC meetings became an issue.

Bottom line: The 2004 transcripts should already exist. They should have been transcribed and reviewed long ago. There should be no need to get them "ready" six years later. Larger issue: Congress/the GAO really should have a representative in FOMC meetings to keep a separate record. The Fed cannot be trusted with the editing pen or, as we see now, timeliness of release.

For now the Fed needs to clarify the reason for the delay, or explain why its employees are Googling blogs to see if anyone's noticed.


Anonymous KAIMU said...


Ben ... if you are reading this:

YES ... we have noticed!!! You are now yet another Fannie Mae with these delays in reporting!!!

On top of that quit whiting out whole sentences and paragraphs as it makes you look "criminal"! Your credibility is rapidly sinking to ZERO!!

The GAO has the same complaints against the US TREASURY for decades about timeliness and accuracy. Now I understand why. The US FED and the US TREASURY and GS have a revolving door on hiring from the same "talent pool" for Chairmen and Secretaries and employees. Can an orchid farmer get a job at the US FED or do I have to have worked at a GS orchid farm first? What happened to Equal Opportunity Employment?


4/11/2010 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has anyone in Congress demanded the release of these transcripts, ie the Senate Banking Committee, etc? If not why not?

4/12/2010 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Goldhorder said...

Simple answer anon. They have stacks of bills in their freezers at home. Same way we control our Arab autocrats. Give them piles of money to babble soothing things to the unwashed masses.... The politicians make useful canaries too. When they start losing their heads the bankers know it is time to get out of country. Lol.

4/14/2010 1:40 PM  
Blogger The Prudent Investor said...

I've had my funny moments from webstats too, when Fed, Goldman, JPM and all other big name banks googled "monetizing the debt," landing at this post:

4/14/2010 2:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad thing about all this is that we have reached the point that "intellectual PHD's" are more interested in how they appear in the blogosphere than they are concerned with honesty and transparency.

Maybe they realized us in the proletariat finally woke up and realized they have been transfering our wealth to the finacial sector and are now really pissed off.

4/15/2010 7:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why in the world is this information allowed to be kept from the public for 5 "xxxxxxing" YEARS????????

What good is it after such a long time?

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