Monday, May 3, 2010

Lies And The Lying Liars... Wall Street Edition

Today, not one but two major concealments of truth were revealed. One, if the Bush administration had complied with its constitutional duties, likely would have allowed Congress some input into the attempt at recovery from the Wall Street meltdown two years ago. The other was Greenspan's keeping secret any dissent about the housing bubble that might have aided individual homeowners and homebuyers in their decisions about how the bubble would affect them.

First, Brian Beutler of TPM outlines Pelosi's recent revelation that the Bush administration barred its officials from briefing members of Congress in Fall 2008 even after the Bushies knew impending financial collapse was a certainty:
Nearly two years after the Wall Street meltdown drove the U.S. economy to the brink of collapse, and forced the U.S. government to prop up major financial institutions with hundreds of billions of dollars, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi now claims that the Bush Administration prohibited its own top officials who were handling the emerging crisis from briefing Congress until a complete financial collapse was only hours away.

In little-noticed statements to reporters over the last few weeks, Pelosi has alleged that the Bush administration knew well in advance of its intervention that the financial crisis would hit, and that Congress would need to authorize a historic and unpopular bailout - but that top officials, including then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, told her that they had been barred from briefing Congress about true extent of the crisis.

If accurate, the allegation could constitute a major indictment of the Bush administration,...
Then, emptwheel of FDL tells us of this incident, in which Alan Greenspan conceals the internal dissent at the Fed about whether there was or was not a housing bubble, essentially denying ordinary homeowners and homebuyers an opportunity to discuss how the issue affected them:

Ideally, you’ve already seen Ryan Grim’s explosive report on how, in 2004, Alan Greenspan argued the Fed should keep worries about a growing housing bubble secret because the chumps buying the houses were too stupid to engage in a debate about whether there was a bubble or not.
As top Federal Reserve officials debated whether there was a housing bubble and what to do about it, then-Chairman Alan Greenspan argued that the dissent should be kept secret so that the Fed wouldn’t lose control of the debate to people less well-informed than themselves.

“We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand,” Greenspan said, according to the transcripts of a March 2004 meeting.
(See emptywheel's post for a plethora of links.)

Do you get the feeling that our government has broken the taxpayers' piggy-bank and is secretly doing anything it damned well pleases with the quarters and nickels inside? And... isn't some of what Greenspan did, um, illegal? And isn't some of what the Bush administration did, um, unconstitutional? We used to have a government in three parts; Congress used to count for something... apparently not anymore.

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