When the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced last Friday that the economy lost only 36,000 jobs in February, the usual choristers took that as good news. Christina Romer, the Chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said, “Today’s report on the employment situation is consistent with the pattern of stabilization and gradual labor market healing we have been seeing in recent months.”
On February 24, Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), at a hearing held by the House Financial Services Committee, asked Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke whether he was aware of allegations that the Federal Reserve had been complicit in the Watergate cover-up and in the illegal funneling of billions of dollars in loans to Iraq’s Saddam Hussein:
On Wednesday, February 10, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke expressed confidence that every cent of the Federal Reserve’s exposure to insurance giant AIG would be repaid. Regarding a combined $116 billion dollars that the Fed provided in emergency loans to shore up AIG and back the purchase of Bear Stearns — an amount that totals about one-fifth of the Fed’s entire balance sheet, Bernanke said that the Fed “expects these exposures to decline gradually over time. The [Federal Reserve] Board continues to anticipate that the Federal Reserve will ultimately incur no loss on these loans as well.”
International Monetary Fund head Dominique Strauss-Kahn made a series of headline-grabbing statements late last week, calling for new supervisory authority over world financial markets and even the exploration of a new global reserve currency.