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The Fed's putting pressure on various exchanges to set up a clearinghouse for credit default swaps. That's the "news" this morning. News is in quotes because, first, the exchanges all want to do this, and they have wanted it for months. They need the revenue. Second, we want more than one exchange so there is competition in pricing and we don't want a sweetheart deal by a government so prone to sweetheart deals that I want to vomit every day I come to work.

Third, this is a regulatory issue and it should be done by some superbody -- but please not the easily lobbied- Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which will make you put no margin down because then the fees will be huge from trading. And please not the Securities and Exchange Commission , which doesn't understand markets and has blessed a world where these are under deep cover.

Frankly, as much as I want a clearinghouse on this stuff, I don't think it is possible with these sets of regulators to get a fair one. They are just too easily lobbied by the bad guys to do the wrong thing.

And who would be the worst at this? Tim Geithner and his merry band of "everything we do is right" Federal Reserve folks. I was listening to the TV Thursday and some host was asking some guest how she thought Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke was doing. She said "he's done a great job." And I found myself thinking, you have to be kidding, you can't possibly believe that, how could anyone think this guy has done a great job?

Anyway, he and Tim "Mr. Let-Me- Call-the-Media-and-Get-a-Good-Story- About-us-Because-I am-Savvy-and-I- Know-How-They-Care-About-the-Call- Back-and-Will-Praise-US" Geithner (long and deserving hyphenated nickname) would be without a doubt the worst two to be involved in this credit default swap market because they don't play dirty and don't know how the game works. One of the reasons we are in such a jam is that SEC Chairman Christopher Cox has huge faith in the market and Bernanke has huge faith in the power of debate with people like Dick Fisher, the totally discredited Texas Fed man who was saying that inflation is the issue and it is out of control as the greatest wave of deflation overwhelms us since 1932. Fisher's an arrogant and erudite one-man wrecking crew of this economy.

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