The Fed and the Great Panic

Monday, August 10, 2009

David Wessel, economics editor of The Wall Street Journal and author of In Fed We Trust Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic, provides a close-up retelling of the Federal Reserve's dramatic efforts to stabilize the US economy.


David Wessel

Comments [10]


agree mr. crowley -- and what you probably know but don't add is that many fine minds from within fortune 500 and their accountants were frantically preparing for basel 11 for literally years, anticipating implementation.

our current deficit economic state will be historically notable because of this lack of regulation (and the missteps and missed opportunities resulting from this vacuum).

Aug. 12 2009 10:12 AM
John P. Crowley from Brooklyn

The No. 1 reason why The banks and investment banks melted down: Greenspan and Bernancke both shied away form signing on to Basel II and refused to impose any margin requirements for highly illiquid assets that were being valued with a high degree of creativity. They also turned their backs on firms that tried to market highly transparent pricing models of these securitized debt products. FACT !

Aug. 11 2009 10:21 AM
Moishe from Rockland

The New York Times #1 Bestseller for the better of the last several months, Liberty and Tyranny, by Mark R. Levin, chapter 6, page 61-94 illuminates this subject much brighter and clearer than this drive-by interview.

Aug. 10 2009 11:39 AM

What flavor is the Slurpee Mr. Wessel is slurping on


on a scale of 9 to 10, how much does Mr. Wessel wish that his book was a must-read on the conspiracy of Goldman Sachs.

Aug. 10 2009 11:26 AM
Hugh from Brooklyn, NY

Oversight of the Fed is distinct from control. We need more oversight, at the very least. It's OUR MONEY. We were robbed and now we've been made to reward the robbers.

For 30 years, since the late 70s and 80s (especially since Greenspan), the Fed has taken its principle role to be protecting the rich from inflation.

There is simply no pretending that inflation disproportionately affects the rich -- The Rich are making the loans. When inflation rises, the face value of the loan remains constant but the actual value, because of inflation, declines. Hence, the hysteria of rich people over inflation.

Perfectly simple economics -- Econ 101. UNLESS you are studying right-wing idiots like Mankiw or Greenspan.

Aug. 10 2009 11:22 AM
Mark from Princeton from Princeton NJ

Two questions...

1) If the decisions of a handful of companies can bring the world to the brink of economic collapse, what does that say about where the power really is?

2) Why is everyone assuming that the housing bubble was an accident? That's like saying that no one had bought low and sold high. If it helps, refer back to my first question as to who was best positioned to profit from any/all so called bubbles.

To those who find such questions too profound (i.e., I'm off the mark) please filter out the words from the actions of those in power from the last 15+ years. Then we can talk :)

Aug. 10 2009 11:20 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

An independent central bank is preferable.

But, if we have to choose between a puppet of banks or puppet of Congress, I'd rather choose Congress.

They may be stupid and corrupt, but not as stupid nor as corrupt as banks.

Aug. 10 2009 11:19 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Please tell your guest to stop typing while you are asking questions. We can hear it and it is rude.

Aug. 10 2009 11:16 AM
kai from NJ-NYC

How does Mr. Wessel feel about the potential for Congress to be able to audit the Fed, as Ron Paul has proposed?

Does it impede the Fed's authority and ability to carry out its mission?

Aug. 10 2009 11:12 AM

Under Bush the Treasury and Hank Paulsen seemed to trump the Fed in terms of picking winners and losers in managing the bailout and so called economic crisis of 08.

Has the Fed pulled ahead of the Treasury now as lead strategist and if so why?

Aug. 10 2009 11:09 AM

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