Thursday, March 05, 2009

Will Dodd fight for transparency? Or is he a rubber stamp for Obama?

For regulars here, you know that I've shown repeatedly* that Obama's money guy - Tim Geithner - is opposed to transparency and he's also a hypocrite. Geithner is a typical Washington pol... he thinks he's smarter than you and me. And I place Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke in the same category with Tim Geithner - they're both opposed to honest, open government.

Obama's Dynamic Duo continue their opposition to transparency

March 5 - Bloomberg's Mark Pittman and Craig Torres explain:

The Fed refused yesterday to disclose the names of the borrowers and the loans, alleging that it would cast “a stigma” on recipients of more than $1.9 trillion of emergency credit from U.S. taxpayers...

Fed secrecy was the focus of a Senate Banking Committee hearing today in which the panel’s top two members said the central bank’s reluctance to identify companies benefiting from the American International Group Inc. bailout risks undermining public confidence in the government.

“If the American taxpayer’s money is at stake, and it is, big time, I believe the American taxpayers, the people, and this committee, we need to know who benefited, where this money went,” said Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the committee’s top Republican. “There is no transparency here. We are going to find out.”

And the article offered a distinct Nutmeg flavor further down:

Fed Vice Chairman Donald Kohn told the Senate panel today that revealing the names of AIG’s counterparties would make companies less likely to do business with any recipient of government aid, risking further turmoil at the insurer and financial markets.

“I don’t consider that an adequate” response, “to put it mildly,” Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, told Kohn at the hearing. “The public is deeply, deeply troubled.”

Senator Dodd's words challenge the Dynamic Duo

Good for Senator Dodd for speaking the words. But the obvious followup question - Will Dodd's bark be followed with any bite?

He certainly would have widespread, bipartisan support including:

1) Dodd's Republican counterpart Dick Shelby wants action;
2) Republican Congressman Ron Paul has introduced legislation to require a real audit of the Federal Reserve; and
3) Senator Bernie Sanders is seemingly disgusted with The Fed's opposition to transparency.

So you might think that this is a no-brainer for Dodd.

Think again.

This isn't Dodd vs. Bernanke / Geithner. This isn't Congress vs. The Fed / Treasury. Nope. This is a much bigger issue... an issue that Congress is loathe to tackle.

This is the classic question of the legislative vs. the executive.

Is Senator Dodd willing to challenge President Obama?

Or is Dodd a Rubber Stamp?

Tim White

* For examples of his opposition to transparency, see here, here, here, here, here, here and here.


Anonymous said...

Dodd is the biggest tool not manufactured by Black & Decker. Of course he is going to lay down for his protege Geithner. Why bother raising this rhetorical question?

tim white said...

Dodd is the banking Chair. He has a real opportunity to do the right thing. If he fails to do it, he needs to be held accountable.

Besides, just because your name is Obama doesn't mean you're perfect. And Obama established his "bipartisan" reputation largely on two (maybe three??) issues:

1) working with Lugar to reduce nukes of the former Soviets and

2) working with Coburn on the "transparency in federal spending" act.

When it comes to policy issues, such as the stimulus, Obama can legitimately argue that when Dems were elected in a significant way last November... they got a mandate.

But if that's true, then Obama also certainly has a mandate for good government issues... such as transparency. So this discussion shouldn't be necessary. Obama should be directing Geithner and Bernanke to get with the program and open the books.

If Obama fails to do so, the Congress should direct him to do so.

If the Congress fails to direct Obama to do so, then... America's got its second consecutive Rubber Stamp Congress.

Anonymous said...

Tim, those issues were "just words"; "just words"

Here's two more accurate words about the "Community Organizer in Chief"

"Chicago Politician"