“In the five years that have elapsed since the direst days of the financial crisis, we’ve learned much about how the nation’s high-level banking regulators worked to keep the debacle from turning into a full-blown economic Depression. Tales of these herculean efforts have emerged in books by some of the major players, and in the exhaustive testimony they’ve presented before congressional inquisitors and others trying to determine what went wrong and why.
“Still, there is more to learn.
“That’s the message in the transcripts released last Friday by the Federal Reserve Board, detailing the 2008 meetings of its powerful Federal Open Market Committee. This treasure trove — almost 2,000 pages of conversation and dialogue by the committee members and other Fed officials — sheds light on the rescue of Bear Stearns, the bankruptcy filing of Lehman Brothers and the bailout of the American International Group.
“My initial takeaway from these voluminous transcripts is that they paint a disturbing picture of a central bank that was in the dark about each looming disaster throughout 2008. That meant that the nation’s top bank regulators were unprepared to deal with the consequences of each new event.”
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