Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Fed to the Rescue!

Accrued Interest writes a good article about Bernanke, the Fed, and how they are reacting to the subprime led liquidity crisis.
I know wall streeters and Cramer were all panicking and crying for mommy to do something. Well the Fed did do something friday. They injected huge cash reserves in to the banking system by accepting various types of mortgage securities as collateral for short term loans. This effectively put a value on securities that banks were refusing to use as collateral because there was no viable quote to use as a valuation method. Billions of dollars of collateral ( fewer billions than a few weeks ago ) were temporarily rendered valueless because the participants in that market had withdrawn. The fed properly stepped in to restore some normalcy and prevent further contagion so that a general credit crisis would be averted.
I am not normally a fan of government intervention in markets, but this is precisely the proper role of the Fed in a market spasm. Bernanke and friends took a very targeted approach and addressed the exact problem rather than cutting rates. The liquidity crisis was not because of rates being too high it was due to lending not being available. What difference does the interest rate make if I cannot get a loan in the first place?
I applaud the Fed's action and am reassured some about Ben Bernanke's abilities to take the heat and perform.
Restoring normal credit conditions to the market is the right move. Bailing out a bunch of over leveraged hedge fund managers is not the job of the Federal Reserve.