Thoughts on Bernanke, Lewis and Bank of America-Merrill Lynch
I sat through most of the Ben Bernanke/BofA hearing before having to duck out to do some CNBC. But these are my takeaways
1) It sure would be great to have a transcript of the conversation between Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker and Bernanke that led Lacker having a chat with BofA’s Ken Lewis that then led Lewis to claim he was being threatened.
2) Without #1, there is no smoking gun. Rep. Issa overreached when he said there was a coverup.
3) Some Dems, particularly Elijah Cummings, indicated frustration with Bernanke’s narrow, legalistic answers. Bernanke to Lewis was like asking your mechanic if you need new brakes and he says, “I wouldn’t drive the car with these brakes, but that’s me. It’s up to you.” Lewis read between the lines. Bernanke said he should not have, that the Fed was merely outlining the market reaction to BofA trying to scuttle the deal with Merrill.
4) A three-hour grilling where the GOpers basically accused Bernanke of lying and perjury. And then at the end, a question about M2 and monetary policy. Still think having the Fed as a super-regulator is a good idea?