Published by WallStreetWeather.net
“The Federal Reserve remains committed to transparency and openness and, in particular, to keeping the Congress and the public informed about its lending programs and balance sheet.” –Ben Bernanke’s testimony before the Joint Economic Committee
Unless subdued by more dominant planetary energies in their chart, individuals born with the Sun and other planets in Sagittarius have a tendency to be frank and transparent with their thoughts and actions. Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter, the planetary energy ruling ethics, philosophy, and religious beliefs. Even if the individual is not too forthcoming, they’ll usually claim to be and at a minimum demand openness and ethical behavior from others.
With his Sun, Mercury, and Venus in Sagittarius, Ben Bernanke talks (Mercury) a lot about transparency at the Federal Reserve, yet Bloomberg News had to file a lawsuit against Bernanke’s Fed for details about its lending programs. Bernanke fought long and hard against revealing American International Group’s (AIG) counterparties and how much they received after the government took a 79.9% slice of the insurance giant last September.
Most recently Bernanke and the Fed cited “bank examination privilege” to avoid questioning under oath by New York AG Cuomo about statements made under deposition by Bank of America (BAC) CEO Ken Lewis who said he was told by Bernanke and then Treasury Secretary Paulson to go through with the acquisition of Merrill Lynch and not publicly disclose Merrill’s larger than expected quarterly loss before the merger took place.
Questioned about the matter at the Joint Economic Committee hearing yesterday, Bernanke responded: “I absolutely did not in any way ask Mr. Lewis to obscure any disclosures or to fail to report information that he should be reporting.” This statement is so vague it is meaningless, similar to President Clinton’s “I did not have sex with that woman, Ms. Lewinsky.” Just as it depends on what one’s definition of having sex is, Bernanke’s statement could be technically true but misleading.
No matter. It seemed at least for the moment to placate Committee members probably more focused on the stock market’s newfound euphoria as Jupiter (exaggeration, optimism) is about to conjoin Neptune (deception, illusion) May 27. Bernanke obviously anticipated he would be questioned, and it’s fairly easy to deflect scrutiny when you’re being questioned by a Congressional committee and not by a trial lawyer under oath.
With his Mercury/Venus conjunction in Sagittarius, Bernanke’s communicative style outwardly comes across in a calm and pleasant yet almost timid manner. This coupled with Bernanke’s Sun in Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius opposite natal Jupiter in Gemini describes his incessant optimism and sole focus on economic expansion and growth at the expense of price stability and savings. Bernanke’s Sun/Jupiter opposition also reflects that he can impose too great a demand upon others.
One thing Ken Lewis said in his deposition that was not made public when I wrote “Bernanke Behind Threat To Oust Lewis…” to me sounds like pure Bernanke, ever eager to do what he thinks will move the market. Lewis said that once Bernanke saw BofA was likely to go ahead with the acquisition, Bernanke told him:
“’We view you as strong and having acted appropriately in difficult circumstances, that we’ll make sure you continue that way.’ He even went so far as to say ‘We want to do something that when the public hears about it your stock goes up.’ That didn’t happen, but-“
“Once the public hears about it”? Market manipulation? Sounds like the Fed Chairman did not want BofA to fulfill their legal duty under SEC rules to publicly disclose a major adverse effect in Merrill’s earnings that would materially impact BofA’s earnings.
As last week’s Wall Street Journal editorial (“Busting Bank of America”) observes: “Disclosure is not a luxury to be enjoyed only when markets are rising.” And I might add that with Jupiter (ethics) conjoining Neptune (scandal) in progressive and tech savvy Aquarius, any person in authority is arrogant to believe that their actions won’t eventually catch up with them.
As the Journal editorial points out, Bernanke chairs the Financial Stability Oversight Board. Board members are federal regulators who oversee the TARP. Neither Bernanke nor Paulson felt it was necessary to inform the Board at the December 19, 2008 meeting that Ken Lewis wanted to call off the merger over Merrill’s large losses.
Transparency was a topic at the January 8, 2009 Oversight Board meeting. Bernanke and Paulson must have thought it didn’t apply to them and therefore it was not necessary to inform the Board they had committed an additional $20 billion of TARP to BofA for consummating the Merrill deal. It wasn’t until 4:35 PM on January 15, 2009 after media outlets reported the government was going to take a bigger stake in BofA that Bernanke and Paulson informed the Oversight Board.
Transiting Jupiter to an individual’s natal or progressed* Sun can be a time of good fortune and provide a big boost of self-confidence. When transiting Jupiter conjoined Bernanke’s progressed* Sun in Aquarius in March, the Fed Chairman was honored by the town of Dillon South Carolina with an Exit off I-95 named after him. At the same time, transiting Neptune was opposing Bernanke’s Pluto in Leo. Bernanke drew favorable publicity for himself when he was interviewed on “60 Minutes”, giving the public a glimpse inside the secretive central bank. This was the moment when Bernanke said “green shoots” are starting to appear in the economy.
July and August could be a challenging time for the Fed Chairman as Mars in Gemini (action through legislation) and Saturn (governmental authorities) in Virgo transit Bernanke’s Sun (which conjoins the Fed’s Venus/money) and his natal Jupiter.
Virgo is the sign of the bookkeeper, seeking a full audit of the Fed’s books, along with an accounting of Bernanke and the Fed’s actions taken during the financial crisis. Today the Senate approved an amendment partially reversing a 30 year ban barring the GAO from auditing the Fed. The Senate’s amendment would allow the GAO to only audit the actions the Fed took using its emergency powers relating to a specific company or partnership, such as Bear Stearns and AIG.
In the House, Rep. Ron Paul recently introduced HR1207 The Federal Reserve Transparency Act, that would allow the GAO to conduct a full audit of the Fed. As of this writing the bill has 124 co-sponsors. In the bill, Rep. Paul accurately describes the Fed’s natal Sun/Pluto opposition when he states: “Since its inception, the Federal Reserve has always operated in the shadows, without sufficient scrutiny or oversight of its operations.”
Retrograde Jupiter and Neptune will oppose Bernanke’s natal Pluto which could involve the Chairman in legal issues (Jupiter) that expose information Bernanke might have deceitfully (Neptune) kept under wraps (Pluto).
Neptune represents scandals, and the July 21 Solar Eclipse will conjoin the Federal Reserve’s Neptune in Cancer. Around the same time Pluto retrograde in Capricorn will conjoin the Fed’s natal Sun and oppose natal Pluto, indicating that Bernanke is at the center of the scrutiny.
Beyond this short term timeframe, the Federal Reserve faces even bigger challenges ahead in late July/August 2010 when Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Pluto impact the Fed’s Sun, Pluto and Midheaven,** radically transforming the structure and identity of the nation’s central bank.
*A mathematical calculation that moves the planets forward in time as a method of prediction.
**In a chart the Midheaven describes a person/entity’s public reputation.
Ben Shalom Bernanke: December 13, 1953 time unknown Augusta, GA
Federal Reserve Act Signed By President Wilson: December 23, 1913 6:02 PM EST Washington, DC