Transparency and The Fed: Transcripts Belie Rhetoric
Written by William F. Jasper
The New American
Saturday, 21 April 2012
Five hundred pages of redactions. Mostly blank pages. That’s what the public gets to see in the transcripts of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FROMC) meetings for 2007-2010. The long-awaited transcripts, released on March 7, pursuant to a Freedom Of Information Act request by MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show, undoubtedly hold some very important information about the Fed’s activities and decisions during and since the financial crisis, including to whom the Fed has given trillions of taxpayer dollars in “loans” and bailouts — and on what terms.
Not all of the recently released transcript pages are completely blank; some of the pages of particular FROMC meetings list the names of attendees and include brief opening and closing remarks by Chairman Bernanke, as well as bantering and joking by Bernanke and other attendees. Although the meager transcripts provide virtually none of the substantive information Fed watchers were hoping to find, the newly released pages do show the word “Laughter,” in brackets, 79 times, and, undoubtedly, there were many more laugh lines in the redacted material. However, for the millions of Americans who have lost their homes, their businesses, their jobs, or their life savings — or who face imminent loss of the same — it’s no laughing matter.
In an April 16, 2012 commentary entitled, “Fed Release Is Absurdly Redacted,” John Carney, senior editor of CNBC’s “NetNet,” notes that Bernake and company have censored all the relevant information about the most critical events in our recent economic history. “Take the entry from March 10, 2008,” Carney comments. “It begins with these words. ‘CHAIRMAN BERNANKE: Good evening, everybody. I am sorry, once again, to have to call you together on short notice. We live in a very special time.’”
“That sounds like the start to a very interesting meeting,” says Carney. “Unfortunately, the remainder of that page is redacted.”