Posted on | July 13, 2012 | 27 Comments
Just now watched James Rosen on Fox News explaining this to Jenna Lee and — despite the eye-glazing intricacies of the financial details involved — recognized it as a potentially major scandal:
Years before the Libor scandal ripped through the financial industry, Timothy Geithner sent a memo to the Bank of England calling for a slew of changes to make it harder for banks to rig this benchmark borrowing rate.
According to a June 2008 memo obtained by FOX Business, Geithner, who was then president of the New York Federal Reserve, listed six changes aimed at making it more difficult for banks to distort Libor.
The disclosure comes as lawmakers step up the heat on bankers and regulators in the wake of Barclays . . . reaching a $452 million settlement for allegedly intentionally manipulating its Libor rates. More than a dozen banks are being probed for their handling of Libor.
So, the Treasury Secretary who has been up to his eyeballs in the political manipulation of the U.S. economy warned against the private manipulation of financial data for profit.
UPDATE: Explaining what LIBOR is:
The London Interbank Offered Rate is the average interest rate estimated by leading banks in London that they would be charged if borrowing from other banks. . . . It is the primary benchmark . . . for short term interest rates around the world.
If banks are manipulating LIBOR, this enables them to rig interest rates to their own advantage. James Rosen explained this on Fox News, and Jenna Lee nodded her pretty head as if she understood, but I’m not sure she really did. But this is no time to pick fights with feminists . . .
UPDATE II: What pushed this into the headlings was a massive document dump about the LIBOR scandal today:
The most recent revelations have suggested that the world’s central bankers knew about the rate manipulation before and/or during the  financial crisis, and may have even leaned on banks to keep lending rates low.
These documents indicate that the Fed and the [Bank of England] had considered problems with the accuracy of LIBOR, and believed that Barclays was pushing down estimates of the rate at which it could borrow funds in order to appear more financially stable.
Read the whole thing by Simone Foxman of Business Insider who, I hasten to point out, is (a) female and (b) actually understands this stuff. That probably won’t help much with feminists outraged by my snarky comments about Jenna Lee, but I gotta try.
UPDATE III: The basic thrust of questions facing Geithner is whether he acted promptly and appropriately on reports that Barclays was deliberately manipulating LIBOR:
An unidentified employee of U.K. bank Barclays PLC told the New York Federal Reserve Bank more than four years ago that the bank was filing false reports on a key interest rate, according to documents released by the regional central bank on Friday. . . .
The New York Fed released the documents in response to inquiries from members of Congress about the role of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then the head of the New York Fed, and its questions about Libor.
So it’s a “what-did-he-know-and-when-did-he-know-it” kind of situation. And if I keep inserting inappropriately sexist comments into this story, it’s because people who probably wouldn’t pay attention to a complicated financial scandal might pay attention if I juice it up with a few gratuitous jabs at feminists.
Let’s face it: Amanda Marcotte doesn’t care if Tim Geithner was asleep at the switch while international bankers were wrecking the economy and robbing us blind, but she is outraged over “the epic and often confusing online battle over rape jokes” by the host of a cable TV show.
It’s a matter of priorities, you see.
Let the global economy go to ruin. The important thing is, somewhere a man is laughing, and feminism must put an end to that.