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The Latest Outrage Over Fed Presidents Trading Stocks Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Fed Chair Jerome Powell (left); BlackRock CEO Larry Fink (right)

Fed Chair Jerome Powell (left); BlackRock CEO Larry Fink (right)

Last Tuesday, Mike Derby reported at the Wall Street Journal that the President of the Dallas Fed, Robert Kaplan, had “made multiple million-dollar-plus stock trades in 2020, according to a financial disclosure form provided by his bank.” The individual stocks included shares of Apple, Alphabet (Google), Alibaba,  Amazon, Chevron, Delta Airlines, Facebook, General Electric, Johnson and Johnson, Oracle, Tesla and numerous others. Kaplan previously spent more than two decades at Goldman Sachs, one of the largest trading houses on Wall Street, and, apparently, he thinks he still works there.

Think about this for a moment. While Fed Chair Jerome Powell is repeatedly testifying to Congress last year that its every monetary move during the pandemic was on behalf of the average American, the Dallas Fed President is making million-dollar bets on big tech stocks the Justice Department is investigating for anti-trust activity. In fact, in October of last year, the Justice Department and 11 state attorneys general sued Google for anti-trust actions.

On Wednesday of last week, Bloomberg News reporters Craig Torres, Catarina Saraiva, and Steve Matthews reported that the 2020 financial disclosures for Boston Fed President, Eric Rosengren, had “listed stakes in four separate real estate investment trusts and disclosed multiple purchases and sales in those and other securities….”

Fed Presidents are privy to market-moving information that the general public is not privy to. That was especially true last year as the Fed took unprecedented measures to combat the economic impact of the pandemic. The Fed slashed the Fed Funds rate to zero, established a panoply of bailout programs for Wall Street, and began buying up $120 billion a month in Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities.

The news reports of the stock trading by Fed Presidents rightfully caused outrage over the “let them eat cake” attitude as thousands of businesses shut down, millions of workers lost their jobs and families struggled to pay their bills.

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