With the federal reserve bank handing out literally TRILLIONS of dollars, and not telling Congress or anyone wlse who is getting how much, it stood to reason that sooner or later, they would have to do something "out of the box." What they've done is a shock even to me:
The obvious game changing move would have been for the Treasury and the Fed to make an arrangement in which the Fed is able to purchase Treasury debt directly without subjecting it to an auction in the public market first. This is known as 'a money machine' and is prohibited by statute.
But as usual the Fed surprises us all with their lack of transparency. They are asking Congress about permission to issue their own debt directly, not tied to Treasuries.
This is known in central banking circles as 'cutting out the middleman.' Not only does the Treasury no longer issue the currency, but they also no longer have any control over how much debt backed currency the Fed can now issue directly.
If the Fed were able to issue its own debt, which is currently limited to Federal Reserve Notes backed by Treasuries under the Federal Reserve Act, it would provide Bernanke the ability to present a different class of debt to the investing public and foreign central banks.
The question is whether it would be backed with the same force as Treasuries, or is subordinated, or superior. There will not be any lack of new Treasury debt issuance upon which to base new Fed balance sheet expansion. The notion that there might be a debt generation lag out of Washington in comparison with what the Fed issues as currency is almost frightening in its hyperinflationary implications.
This makes little sense unless the Fed wishes to be able to set different rates for their debt, and make it a different class, and whore out our currency, the Federal Reserve notes, without impacting the sovereign Treasury debt itself, leaving the door open for the issuance of a New Dollar.
What an image. The NY Fed as a GSE, the new and improved Fannie and Freddie. Zimbabwe Ben can simply print a new class of Federal Reserve Notes with no backing from Treasuries. BenBucks. Federal Reserve Thingies.
Perhaps we're missing something, but this looks like a step in anticipation of an eventual partial default or devaluation of US debt and the dollar.