The Federal Reserve, our central bank, hit the news big last week.
Beginning in August 2007 and continuing for the next two and a half years, the Fed lent the world’s biggest banks something like $7.77 trillion dollars at the barely perceptible interest rate of 0.01 percent. With that money, the banks bought Treasury bonds (federal debt) and made $13 billion in profit.
I reported on this multi-trillion-dollar loan figure in December 2008, a few weeks after the biggest day ever of Fed bailout fever. For some reason this information didn’t become widespread or understood until this December, when Judge Andrew Napolitano and Jon Stewart made a big deal of it on their respective TV shows, after Bloomberg reported the profits banks made off all that bailout money.
What does this figure represent? To me, it represents the outrageous amount of magic money a sick and corrupt fiat-dollar/bailout-based system of moral hazard requires when it implodes.
I think we can all justifiably roll our eyes, now, when some rah-rah boy for big government tells us how absolutely necessary it is to have a central bank. The old gold standard never fell apart this badly. The gold requirement itself placed a huge check on out-of-control banking.
But a $13 billion reward for the biggest financial mess in world history? That’s the very opposite of a check or balance on risk-taking, greed, or downright stupidity.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.