Some say that one meaning of Shakespeare’s phrase “Caesar’s wife should be above suspicion” is that those in a position of power and influence should take special care to avoid even the appearance of impropriety.
But perhaps some Federal Reserve officials, including even Chairman Jerome Powell, never studied Shakespeare.
CNBC reports, on 17 September, that Chairman Powell has ordered a review of ethics rules for the central bank, after it became known that three Fed officials (including two regional presidents) owned and traded the same type of assets the Fed has been purchasing in order to stimulate the economy and counter the economic impact of COVID-19. And one of those officials was the chairman himself.
Gregory Mannarino has written extensively in Trends Journal about the Federal Reserve; see, for example, “PARABOLIC DEBT: THE FED’S ANSWER,” (26 May 2020) “THE FED’S DANGEROUS GAME,” (27 Apr 2021) and “IS INFLATION ‘CONTAINED’?” (27 Jul 2021).
The Federal Reserve does have a “code of conduct.” And that code says that officials “should be careful to avoid any dealings or other conduct that might convey even an appearance of conflict between their personal interests, the interests of the system, and the public interest.” But perhaps that code of conduct is, like Shakespeare, another thing that those officials, including even the chairman, have never studied.
Fed spokespersons, including an ethics officer, maintain that no violations have occurred. But the chairman has directed that a “fresh and comprehensive look” be taken at the ethics rules pertaining to Fed officials’ financial holdings and activities.
CNBC quotes Dennis Kelleher, head of the non-profit and non-partisan investor and public advocacy group Better Markets, as saying “To think that such trading is acceptable because it is supposedly allowed by the Fed’s current policies only highlights that the Fed’s policies are woefully deficient.”
And Christopher Whalen, a former Federal Reserve researcher and now an investment banker, remarked that the Fed’s officers didn’t live by the same rules they imposed on banks. After the Dodd-Frank banking reforms, he noted, “every agency in Washington tightened up little conflicts like insider trading. And yet the Fed is somehow exempt from those rules? They look ridiculous.”
All of this will be simmering in the background as the Fed meets this week to determine whither goest the Fed policies that determine interest rates, economic growth and inflation.
And there’s conflict and uncertainty there, too; Fed officials are reported to be evenly divided on whether the central bank should continue to keep interest rates low and keep buying up all the debt it can (chiefly Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities) in order to stimulate the economy, or to begin to “normalize” its policies by “tapering” its purchases.
On top of that is the uncertainty of who will be at the helm, since Powell’s term will expire in February.
TRENDPOST: As we have continually noted, the Fed is nothing more than a Bankster Gang. The Fed is facing a two-pronged crisis of credibility and confidence: investors (and the public) in a real Democracy would be told whether the Fed is operating in an ethical manner, and whether it knows what it’s doing.
But that will not happen in America. Indeed, Janet Yellen who is the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury controls the money vault of the nation.