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The ‘Have You No Shame’ Moment of the Financial Crisis « The Washington Independent

Jul 31, 2020
It was a huge week for confirmation hearings, with Secretary of State-nominee Hillary Rodham Clintonand Attorney General-designate Eric Holdertaking center stage, and all the drama that entailed. But an enduring image from the week may end up being a small moment that few people even caught initially: The grillingof a Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Donald Kohn by freshman Florida Congressman Alan Grayson.
Grayson,a Democrat from Central Florida who defeated a four-term Republican incumbent and is entirely new to the ways of Washington, faced off at a House Financial Services Committee hearing with the mighty and impenetrable Federal Reserve.
And won.
Grayson simply did what every American has a right to do, which is to ask the Federal Reserve exactly what’s going on with that $1.2 trillion it has lent or spent since September. Kohn looked shocked that anyone had the gall to even bring it up. I guess he’s not used to being called to account for the Fed’s actions.
The drama began making its way around the Internet earlier this week, the most unlikely of viral videos.
Grayson begins by letting Kohn hang himself a little when Kohn talks about how he can’t reveal the names of the institutions receiving Fed loans or money.
“Mr. Kohn,” Grayson says, “You just said the that $1.2 trillion dollars has been lent or spent as the case may be. That’s $4,000 for every man, woman and child in this country. Don’t Americans have a right to know how you spent that money?”
Grayson goes on to press Kohn about how much Fed money institutions like Credit Suisse and Citigroup received, and what they did with it. Kohn says the Fed won’t reveal the names because the banks could be hurt if people knew they were participating in the lending program. Grayson follows up with the kind of obvious questions other lawmakers haven’t been asking. Do any of those banks really say they won’t take your $100 billion if you use their names? And shouldn’t the decision for secrecy surrounding the spending be up to Congress, and not the Fed?
Watch for yourself as Grayson channels the spiritof U.S. Army Attorney Joseph Welch’s famed rebuke of Sen. Joseph McCarthy: “Have you no decency sir, at long last?”
Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood

Camilo Wood has over two decades of experience as a writer and journalist, specializing in finance and economics. With a degree in Economics and a background in financial research and analysis, Camilo brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his writing. Throughout his career, Camilo has contributed to numerous publications, covering a wide range of topics such as global economic trends, investment strategies, and market analysis. His articles are recognized for their insightful analysis and clear explanations, making complex financial concepts accessible to readers. Camilo's experience includes working in roles related to financial reporting, analysis, and commentary, allowing him to provide readers with accurate and trustworthy information. His dedication to journalistic integrity and commitment to delivering high-quality content make him a trusted voice in the fields of finance and journalism.
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