Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My questions for Ben's first press conference

Yves Smith at Naked Capitalism has issued a crowd-sourcing call for questions we'd like Ben Bernanke to answer at the first ever press conference by a Fed chairman. Here are somethings I'd like to know...

1) How much has the Federal Reserve spent on acquiring toxic assets from banks since their collapse?

2) How has absorbing the toxic assets of banks helped the residents of Main Street?

3) What benefit does the US gain from having investment banks considered "bank holding companies"?

4) How has becoming a "bank holding company" changed the behaviors of investment banks in ways that have created stability for the US economy? Or has it simply allowed them to continue to engage in risky business activities backed by the full faith of the US government?

5) Does the fear of inflation lead the Fed to develop policies that discourage wage increases?

6) Do you see a time in the near future when the banks in our financial sector will be force to deal with the consequences of their own losses - even if it means bankruptcy for the company - without federal support to prop up their operations?

7) What, for you, are the key lessons of the Lehman bankruptcy, and how can we use those lessons to help us wean the American financial sector from its dependence on the Fed?

8) Do you see the possibility of having a financial sector able to stand alone without Federal support when times get tough or are we permanently wedded to bailing the TBTF banks?

9) Does Dodd Frank go far enough to ensure we'll get a financial sector that can exist without federal bailouts and support when they take risks too big to succeed?

10) If you knew then in 2008 what you know now, would you allow bankers at banks requiring massive federal bailouts to used tax dollars to pay for bonuses? Do you feel that protecting bankers from the consequences of their failure is the correct approach to protecting the American economy?

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