20101104 ben bernanke  18
Ben S. Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, makes remarks at the inaugural meeting of the Financial Stability Oversight Council in Washington, DC. - 


STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Under an order from Congress, the Federal Reserve today will post on the web the names of companies that received emergency aid at the height of the economic abyss. That aid by the way, totaled more than $3 trillion.

Marketplace's Gregory Warner is with us live from Philadelphia with the latest. Good morning Gregory.

GREGORY WARNER: Good morning Steve.

CHIOTAKIS: So when this list goes public in a few hours, what will are we gonna find out that we didn't already know?

WARNER: This is a chance for the public to see for the first time a comprehensive list of all the companies that received central bank support during the crisis. We're talking about big investment banks as well as private companies like General Electric. So I talked to two people this morning. First, Bill Buzenberg at the Center for Public Integrity -- and you remember he used to work for American Public Media. Buzenberg says this sends a message:

BILL BUZENBERG: If you're going to get a bailout from the government you should expect that that should be public and people should see it and know about it.

Then I talked to Ted Truman a former fed economist now at the Peterson Institute. He says transparency isn't always a good thing. Especially when you're talking about banks that have reasons not to let the public know they're in trouble.

TED TRUMAN: If every time someone who is in trouble and needs a little bit of help -- right? Their name is going to appear in the New York Times, they're going to hesitate before they go there. That will in fact exacerbate the next crisis.

CHIOTAKIS: OK, but besides being wonky gossip for Wall Street types, who's paying attention to this stuff?

WARNER: This is politics. And the Federal Reserve is under greater political scrutiny than it has been in three decades. So there is sure to be a lot of public second guessing today, whatever names the Fed reveals today on the web.

CHIOTAKIS: Gregory thanks. We appreciate it.

WARNER: Thanks

CHIOTAKIS: Marketplace's Gregory Warner in Philadelphia.