First, some excerpts from Mike Whitney's excellent article at http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23214.htm click click here
The Fed has complete control over monetary policy and, thus, the country's economic future. Bernanke doesn't even pretend to defer to Congress anymore. The $13 trillion the Fed has committed to the financial system since the beginning of the crisis -- via loans and outright purchases of mortgage-backed garbage and US sovereign debt -- was never authorized by Congress. In fact, the Fed stubbornly refuses to even identify which institutions got the "loans," how much the loans were worth, what kind of collateral was accepted for the loans, or when the loans have to be repaid.
In truth, the loans are not loans at all, but gifts to the industry to keep asset prices artificially high. Asset prices are kept artificially high so that the entire financial system does not come crashing down. To wit:
In an analysis written by economist Gary Gorton for the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's 2009 Financial Markets Conference, he states:
"All told, more than $20 trillion in securitized debt was sold between 1997 and 2007."