When it comes to the Fed, the press plays more like one of those toy poodles that sits in your lap. Just last week, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who regularly entertains readers with his astounding ability to insert his head further up the digestive tract of the inside-the-beltway establishment than anyone ever thought possible, reached new heights in a paean to the Fed. "Bernanke's Fed has been a model of good government: apolitical, efficient, brutally effective — and transparent," Milbank wrote.
If, by transparent, Milbank meant "somewhat more open to public inspection than the space-alien cemetery in Area 51," he has an arguable case. Otherwise, he's suffering from journalistic dementia. The Fed has been the most compulsively furtive part of the U.S. government since the plans for it were hatched during a secret 1910 meeting of powerful bankers and Taft administration officials on a private island….
"The Fed is so inscrutable that big banks employ PhDs whose entire lives are dedicated to trying to figure out what the Fed is doing," says Johns Hopkins economist Steve H. Hanke, himself a venerable reader of Fed tea leaves….
Bernanke has fought like a tiger to keep the Fed shielded from the prying eyes of the American peasantry. When Bloomberg News and Fox News filed Freedom of Information Act requests to find out exactly how much money the Fed spent on bailouts after the 2008 financial meltdown and to whom it went, Bernanke stonewalled them for two years before a court order forced him to comply. He also battled ferociously against a proposal for an audit of the Fed proposed by a couple of strange ideological bedfellows — socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders and libertarian GOP Rep. Ron Paul — united by their disgust at the Fed's stealth policy-making.
When the Occupy movement and the tea party agree on something, maybe the rest of us ought to pay attention.
Garvin's recent work generated what just may be the greatest correction of the decade so far:
A column by Glenn Garvin on Dec. 20 stated that the National Science Foundation "funded a study on Jell-o wrestling at the South Pole." That is incorrect. The event took place during off-duty hours without NSF permission and did not involve taxpayer funds.