Het is achteraf makkelijk de Fed de schuld te geven

FRANKFURT – Critici van de US Federal Reserve, het federale stelsel van Amerikaanse centrale banken, beleven een geweldige tijd dankzij de beschamende onthullingen over de risico-inschattingen van de bank aan de vooravond van de financiële crisis. De Fed is wettelijk verplicht na vijf jaar de verslagen te publiceren van de vergaderingen van het Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), dat de rente vaststelt.

Hoewel de echte crisis pas uitbrak na het faillissement van de zakenbank Lehman Brothers in september 2008, was het al in de zomer van 2007 duidelijk dat er iets heel scheef zat op de kredietmarkten, die zich op allerlei vreemde manieren begonnen te bewegen. Toch waren veel Fed-functionarissen niet in staat het belang in te zien van wat zich voordeed. Eén gouverneur was zelfs van mening dat de Fed het als iets goeds moest beschouwen dat de markten zich zorgen gingen maken over de subprime-hypotheken. Een andere gouverneur betoogde dat de zomerse spanning op de markten waarschijnlijk slechts van korte duur zou zijn.

Diverse critici storten zich nu op zulke uitspraken om aan te tonen dat de Fed niet competent is en dat zijn onafhankelijkheid moet worden ingeperkt, of erger. Dit is nonsens. Ja, de zaken hadden beter gekund en gemoeten, maar het is belachelijk om individuele Fed-gouverneurs in de schoenen te schuiven dat ze de nakende catastrofe niet hebben zien aankomen.

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