Today’s New York Times has an Op-Ed piece by Roger Altman, formerly with Lehman Brorthers, Blackstone Group, and the U.S. Treasury, regarding the role of the Federal Reserve in the current financial crisis. This article deserves critical scrutiny by every American. Here are some key excerpts:
SMALL rallies notwithstanding, we are experiencing the most dangerous financial period since the 1930s. In the year since this crisis erupted, huge losses have threatened the solvency of our largest financial institutions. As a result, the Federal Reserve has been forced into increasingly difficult emergency actions, including the rescues of the investment firm Bear Stearns and the mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, to prevent the entire system from collapsing.
Our entire regulatory system, conceived long ago for a different financial world, must be rebuilt. The next president will have no choice but to undertake this task next year.
The next president must first create a single framework for the major financial borrowers, administered by the Federal Reserve alone.
It usually takes a severe crisis to bring about systemic change. The upside to the punishing turmoil in our financial system is the growing probability that regulatory overhaul is at hand. And that’s good, because without it the Fed might be unable to save the system next time.
I agree with two of Mr. Altman’s key points: our current position is dangerous and unsustainable, and that the regulation of our monetary and financial system, based upon the Federal Reserve’s monopoly of our debt-based currency, must be rebuilt.
I disagree, however, with the assertion that we need to further centralize power in the Federal Reserve.
Read the rest