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Quick Hits: Fed Refuses to Dole Out Information


Brief scrutiny of today's headlines.

The Federal Reserve has made about $2 trillion in emergency loans. Ever wonder who's gotten that money?

So did Bloomberg News. The news agency filed suit under the US Freedom of Information Act on November 7th in an effort to discover the terms of 11 Federal Reserve lending programs.

On December 8, the Federal Reserve said it's permitted to withhold internal memos, information about trade secrets and commercial information. In short, the Fed says it's not required to disclose the information - and won't.

The result: Taxpayers, who are footing the fill, don't know what the potential losses are - or even the thinking behind the disbursements.

The Federal Reserve's loans lack the oversight that Congress imposed on the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. Total lending by the Federal Reserve exceeded $2 trillion in early November.

In response to Bloomberg's request for information on who is receiving the money, the Federal Reserve said the United States faces an "unprecedented crisis" and warned that "loss in confidence in and between financial institutions can occur with lightning speed and devastating effects."

Thanks. Didn't we know that?

Dare we ask about the assets the nation's central bank is accepting as collateral? Sure -- just don't expect an answer.

But cheer up. This is your tax dollars at work - just don't ask who, what, where, when or why they're working, because the Federal Reserve in its imperial majesty isn't saying. One assumes that's supposed to inspire confidence among the peons - you know, those troublesome folks known as taxpayers.
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