A U.S. Treasury agency called the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC), created by the Dodd-Frank Act, is tasked with designating "too big to fail" entities -- choosing who'll be subjected to inspections by government bureaucrats trying to justify their existence, plus new and still-undefined requirements related to capital, investments and liquidity. This all ensures that when the next crisis happens, the process will be so ineffectively Byzantine and unwieldy that no politician will want to take a lead role in untangling the mess.
The FSOC debates over these designations have become increasingly secretive, with the public portion of their meetings growing shorter, and any dissenting views reduced from multiple pages of argumentation in some cases to a mere few lines -- even when those dissenting views belong to the individuals with the most expertise in the subject under debate.
Chairing the FSOC subcommittee responsible for selecting the entities to undergo this designation process is 33-year-old Treasury hotshot Amias Gerety, the FSOC's deputy assistant secretary. Along with Daniel Tarullo, a committee chair at the Financial Stability Board and the Federal Reserve's informally designated lead governor for bank regulatory purposes, Gerety emerged from Obama's favorite think tank and talent pool: the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress.
Seemingly aware of the transparency problem, Gerety testified in writing last year to a congressional subcommittee that the FSOC had improved its website and access to council documents, and that it actively supports public collaboration. Then how about telling folks exactly how they might go about collaborating? And what about making the debates more transparent, too? What the public is keen to know is whether you folks are spitballing it -- as everyone else in this Kabuki theater production seems to be doing. In fact, this whole process really belongs in Congress among accountable elected representatives.
This month, for example, Bloomberg reported that FSOC regulators were getting around to considering Obama's favorite billionaire Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway for the Federal Reserve regulatory gulag, given that it obviously meets the primary (and perhaps only truly discernible) designation factor in rulings thus far: asset size. Naturally, FSOC officially refused to discuss it.
One would think that as servants of the people, they'd feel less entitled to opacity while playing capitalist gods in selecting future winners and losers in our so-called free market.