Are Geithner and Bernanke Asking Congress for a Bonus?

Usually when you have a significant portion of the nation calling for you to be tarred and feathered as a direct result of your actions, you tend to lie low and let things work themselves out, or you hope that another larger crisis comes along to divert people’s attention. You certainly don’t have the pluck to ask that your powers of economic wizardry/malfeasance be broadened, and yet The New York Times reports that this is exactly what Geithner and his cohort Bernanke are imploring of Congress. From the article:

The Federal Reserve Chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, agreed with Mr. Geithner that Congress should grant the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve new powers. Mr. Bernanke told members of the House Financial Services Committee that if the government had had such authority in September, when the depth of A.I.G.’s troubles became obvious, the company could have been put into receivership or conservatorship and regulators would have been able to “unwind it slowly, protect policyholders” and take other prudent measures.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t Geithner and Bernanke asking Congress for the keys to the family Lexus after smashing up the old Chevy pickup?

And in case you’re wondering what the executive branch thinks of all this:

President Obama said on Tuesday he hopes “it doesn’t take too long to convince Congress” to approve the kind of authority Mr. Geithner and Mr. Bernanke were talking about. In remarks after meeting with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd of Australia, the president said ways to stabilize the global financial system will be discussed next week at an economic summit meeting in London.

Boy, this G20 summit is looking better and better.

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