Fed on the Ropes? Bernanke to Hold Press Conferences

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The recent
decision
by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to begin holding press
conferences may be one more indication of the increased influence
of Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas). The Federal Reserve has long
ignored the public and conducted its proceedings in cloister, but
the Wall Street Journal reported
April 21 that Bernanke will hold the Fed's first scheduled press
conference ever after Wednesday April 27 Open Market Committee meeting.

The meeting
will determine changes, if any, in Federal Reserve target interest
rates and the fate of the "quantitative easing" program
of the Federal Reserve to purchase some $600 billion in U.S.
government debt securities by June. Most observers expect interest
rates – currently set at historic lows, nearly zero –
and the quantitative easing program to continue as scheduled.

The decision
to hold a press conference conflicts with nearly a century of Federal
Reserve operational secrecy. "Twenty years ago," the Wall
Street Journal reported April
21, "the central bank didn't even tell the public when
it was changing interest rates. Well-paid Fed watchers on Wall Street
had to read the tea leaves and figure it out for themselves. Mr.
Bernanke's predecessor, Alan Greenspan, conducted one on-the-record
television interview shortly before the 1987 stock-market crash
and never did another."

As recently
as 2009, Bernanke told then-Representative
Alan Grayson (D-Florida) that he didn't know where some $500
billion in in Federal Reserve credit to foreign banks had gone,
and that he would not reveal the information to congressional committees.
But the press conference change is occurring just as polling
numbers published by the Gallup
track increasing distrust of
the Federal Reserve's decisions among the American public. For
the first time in recent memory, more Americans distrust the Federal
Reserve Bank's decision-making than trust it.

This distrust
is in part a result of the economic performance of the nation in
recent years, but also must be partially chalked up to the persistent
critique by Representative Ron Paul, the new Chairman of the House
Monetary Policy Subcommittee. Paul has authored a best-selling book
calling for abolition of the Fed, End
the Fed
, and has begun hearings that have exposed Federal
Reserve policies that are responsible for the unprecedented rise
in commodities prices in recent months.

Read
the rest of the article

April
22, 2010

Thomas R.
Eddlem [send
him mail
] is a high school history teacher in
Southeastern Massachusetts and a freelance writer who contributes
to The New American,
Examiner.com,
AntiWar.com and — of
course — LewRockwell.com.

Thomas
R. Eddlem Archives

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