The Fed's Year in Review, Courtesy of Jr Deputy Accountant
Ben Bernanke doesn't have a blog and if he did, it would probably be an awfully dry read but because Jr Deputy Accountant is such a nice person, she's put together a list of the Fed's Greatest Hits for 2009. It's no surprise that we kicked the year off with printing money. Of course!
Now I may have missed a few things, it's been a busy busy year for our friends at the Fed. Chances are I reported on it but if there's something I should have included in this list and didn't, please let me know.
In Crank Up the Presses - Zimbabwe Ben is on His Way, former St Louis Fed president Bill Poole warns us that the Fed is printing money. No kidding, dude, thanks for that FYI. By mid January we learned that the Fed doesn't feel it needs to tell us who got bailout funds, courtesy of Fed Vice Chair Donald Kohn in Fed Vice Chair Refuses to Admit Recipients of Fed "Loans". Gee thanks, asshat.
In February, Bernanke kind of went missing after claiming OMGObama's stimulus was a great idea but not nearly enough (don't worry, the Fed would fix that by March). Thankfully Chicago Fedhead Charles Evans swooped in and gave us a good dash of doom and gloom shortly thereafter in Fed's Evans: News Flash, the Economy Sucks. Thanks for that, Chuck, love ya, mean it. And then our second favorite Fedhead - Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher - came by and whined about deflation. Yeah yeah yeah. Of course Atlanta Fedhead Dennis Lockhart popped his head out to say that the Fed was ready to do whatever it takes to save the economy (and his people obviously kept that promise). And to wrap up February, we had the NYT totally rubbing the Fed's balls in Pro-Fed Propaganda at its Finest from the New York Times. Not cute, people, not cute.
March was exciting if for no other reason than, you guessed it, quantitative easing! And look, it only took the Fed two months after being fronted off by Bill Poole to make their money-printing activities officially above the board! First Richmond Fedhead Jeffrey Lacker (my all-time favorite Fedhead, as most of you already know) said the Fed's independence was at risk, sealing his position in JDA's big squishy heart. The Beige Book was bad, Alan Greenspan turned 83, and the geniuses at Minneapolis Fed figured out that recession = crime. In The Federal Reserve: On a Treasury Shopping Spree?, we learned that the only option the Fed had left was a little QE and sure enough, the bastards did it. Thank God no one listened to SF Fed's Janet Yellen who was still yammering about F-bills (I'm not kidding, she actually suggested the Fed issue its own debt. Repeatedly). Oh well, at least Bernanke admitted on 60 Minutes that the Fed was printing money.
In April, Minneapolis Fed's Gary Stern retired as President of the Bank. Congress started going after the Fed's ass, so badly that I had to do Part 1 and Part 2. Ouch. Fed Governor Kevin "Pretty Boy" Warsh started hating on Tim Geithner, which of course made yours truly pretty excited. And then there was the whole thing about the Fed knowing it might lose its regulatory and supervisory powers, which of course it didn't like to hear. I'd bring up the "Stress Tests" here too but those were a joke from the gate. Maybe that's why the Fed kicked up the PR machine around the same time?
Fedgate deserves its own mention here, and the year in the Fed's biggest headache can be found here:
Bernanke and Paulson: Economic Terrorism at its Finest
Bank of America: From Bad to Worse
Did Bernaulson Violate Securities Law in BofA's Merrill Mess?
Mutiny Among Pirates: Paulson Throws Bernanke Under the Bus on Bank of America/Merrill Deal
Lewis: Bernaulson Made Me Do It
Cuomo Hands Off BofA/Merrill... Case Has 1/3 of a Chance
Federal Reserve Subpoenaed Over Bank of America/Merrill Deal
Fed E-Mails Show Bank of America Bagged on by Bernanke, Fed Lawyers
The Enron Connection and a Peek Inside Actual Federal Reserve Inboxes. And?
The Fed on Bank of America: "Ugly" Indeed, With the Email Chains to Prove It
Bernanke, Issa, the King of the Goldman Rats, More BofA and OMG Not the Internet, Obama!
Surprise! The Fed Engaged in "Cover Up" on Bank of America/Merrill Deal Says New Issa Report
Bernanke v Congress: Who the F&^k Has a Decoder Ring for *This* Bulls&$t?!
Mr Bernanke Goes to Washington: Defending the Fed, Bank of America Edition
Regulator of Last Resort Hits a Snag: Fedgate Leads to New Questions, Uncertain Future for Fed Regulation
Fedgate Continues! Paulson to Congress: Don't Look at Me
Paulson's Fedgate Defense: I Did not Have Sexual Relations with those Toxic Assets
Now, on to May. Christ, busy year for our favorite central bank crooks, eh?
NY Fed's Stephen Friedman thought he could buy a bunch of Goldman Sachs stock and totally get away with it but he got busted and had to step down as Chairman of the NY Fed. Dumbass. The Fed still bought Treasurys. Duh. The stress tests were still important for some reason even though they were a total farce based on lowball numbers ("worst case scenario" LOL) but we still cared about them. Richmond Fed was still obsessed with moral hazard (it's only their favorite thing in the world) and the Fed boys took a nice little trip to Jekyll Island to get back to basics. Like printing more money. The FOMC was still trying to act like they might raise interest rates but of course we learned by the end of the year that that was just a front. Alan Greenspan came back from the dead to snitch on his former employer, teaching us an important lesson in Alan Greenspan: The Fed Does Whatever it Wants Anyway so Kiss My Old Shriveled Ass. Thanks, AG!
By June, we discovered that the Fed's QE plan was starting to backfire in Fed in Foreclosure: Mortgage Rates Battered by Fed Treasury Shenanigans, Fed Still Clueless. Shock that. And when the news got slow, there was always Fedgate to fall back on. Check out Sleepless in DC: Bernanke to Richmond's Lacker "Don't Trip, We Got This."
For July, Richmond Fed was still dealing with a PR nightmare after hiring former (bankrupt) LandAmerica General Counsel Michelle Gluck to lead their legal team. Oh and the Beige Book still sucked but sucked less. Yours truly made "Audit the Fed" my project and took on even the hardcore End the Fed crew in suggesting a thorough exam followed by regulatory reform, whatever the hell that is. Point is, I didn't have enough faith in the auditors to do the job and still don't. It's the Fed, they make up their own accounting, come on now. Oh yeah, and Bernanke lost 29% on his investments for the year. Shows what he knows.
In August, Tim Geithner's replacement at the NY Fed got offended that we'd even suggest the Fed would be monetizing debt. Sure, Bill, whatever you say. A NY judge cockblocked media attempts to crack open the Fed's secret diary, because transparency is overrated, right? Ben Bernanke's wife got her identity stolen, which made for some pretty awesome LOLz. JDA went to DC to flip off her Fed friends and loved every second of it. Oh and we discovered that one of the United States' largest creditors might be the United States itself, or at least some weird Fed money laundering scam.
World Bank's Robert Zoellick jumped on the Fedbashing bandwagon in September but who cares about that asshat? He's worse than those Fed fuckers. Oh and we decided the Fed is banking's mattress. Big whoop. We got offended in The Fed Obviously Holds Our Accounting Skills in High Regard for the Fed's suggestion that we can't add simple math and would buy a line about them making a whole bunch of money off of bailout initiatives. Yeah ok. Gold took off and while that's not really a Fed thing, you all know exactly why it is. The Fedheads starting coming out to tell us all about this exit strategy that they didn't have and JDA fell asleep for most of it. The good part? The Fed Fails at Life and Everything, Says Fed Inspector General. Nuff said.
October came and went and Zimbabwe Ben just wanted to be reconfirmed but Congress wasn't having any of that. The Minneapolis Fed got a new President and so far he looks pretty damn cool in our book, we'll keep you in the loop if he turns out to suck as Fedheads tend to do. Don Kohn was still talking shit about pulling out in time... blah blah blah. Richmond's Lacker said things might be looking up just as his Bank's own manufacturing index started turning bad again. NY Fed's Dudley basically blew it and said the Fed is keeping ZIRP for forever and a day. Great plan, boys. Hey, there's always divine intervention if that doesn't work. And let's not forget Atlanta Fed's epic bank supervision problem, rounding out the year with the prize for The Most Failed Banks of Any Fed Bank.
In November, the Fed swore up and down it would crack down on conflicts of interest like Stephen Friedman/NY Fed/Goldman Sachs. Sure. WTF happened to our gold? Well we still don't know but Fort Knox: The Real Knock-Off Capital of the World? Or, Alternatively, SERIOUSLY WTF Gold OMG!!!!! sheds some light on the issue. Congress was still trying to be up the Fed's ass and still not doing a very good job. St Louis Fedhead James Bullard showed he believes in Mayan prophesy and didn't see the Fed considering a rate hike until at LEAST doomsday. Win. There was some dumb meeting with the Fed and banks but it was useless so we hardly gave it a second thought. Or a first. Thoughts are precious, come on.
As for December, well, we're technically still in it, hopefully it's all fresh in your mind.