Increasingly, the Fed has decided to forgo the idea of repurchase agreements (which require the seller to repurchase the security at a later date), and is instead making outright purchases of the debt of government sponsored enterprises (GSEs such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac). Again, the Fed used to purchase only Treasuries outright, but it is purchasing agency securities with the excuse that these securities are implicitly backed by the
This strikes me as a huge mistake, because it effectively impairs the Fed's ability to get rid of the securities at the price it paid for them, should Congress change its approach toward the GSEs. It simultaneously complicates Congress' ability to address the problem because Bernanke has tied the integrity of our monetary base to these assets. The policy of the Fed and Treasury amounts to little more than obligating the public to defend the bondholders of mismanaged financial companies, and to absorb losses that should have been borne by irresponsible lenders. From my perspective, this is nothing short of an unconstitutional abuse of power, as the actions of the Fed (not to mention some of Geithner's actions at the Treasury) ultimately have the effect of diverting public funds to reimburse private losses, even though spending is the specifically enumerated power of the Congress alone.