La Fed, un bouc émissaire facile

La crise n'a pris toute son ampleur qu'avec l'effondrement de Lehman Brothers en septembre 2008, mais il était évident dès l'été 2007 que quelque chose ne tournait pas rond sur le marché du crédit qui commençait à se comporter de manière étrange. Pourtant, nombre de dirigeants de la Fed n'ont pas réalisé la signification de ce qui était en train de se passer. Un gouverneur était d'avis que la Fed devait considérer d'un bon œil l'inquiétude des marchés à l'égard des prêts immobiliers à risque et un autre a déclaré que la tension qui se manifestait durant l'été sur les marchés n'était sans doute qu'un incident de parcours sans conséquence.

Des critiques s'emparent de ce genre de déclaration comme preuve de l'incompétence de la Fed et proposent de mettre fin à son indépendance, ou pire encore. C'est absurde. Il est vrai que la Fed aurait pu mieux réagir, mais stigmatiser ses gouverneurs pour ne pas avoir anticipé la catastrophe est ridicule.

La Fed était loin d'être la seule dans ce cas. En août 2007, peu d'acteurs du marché, même ceux ayant accès à des montagnes d'information et à toute une gamme d'opinions d'experts, avaient réellement les moyens de comprendre ce qui se passait. Il est vrai que le Congrès américain était dans le brouillard, ses membres se préoccupant surtout de faire du lobbying pour des agences de prêt immobilier semi-publiques comme Fannie Mae et Freddie Mac - ce qui a encore aggravé la situation.

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