In recent remarks to the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen was her typical evasive and non committal self when the topic of interest rate hikes were broached. When the subject of potential oversight of the Fed came up, however, Ms. Yellen became quite forthright in her response.
When asked about a bill introduced by Kentucky Senator Rand Paul to “Audit the Fed,” Ms. Yellen declared: “I want to be completely clear: I strongly oppose ‘Audit the Fed.’”* Ms. Yellen defended her position on the grounds, which have been given by every previous Fed Chairman, that oversight would lead to politicized monetary decision making thus compromising the central bank’s “independence.”
Senate Banking Chairman, Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) countered the Chairwoman saying “there is an even greater need for additional oversight” of the Fed since the onset of the financial crisis in 2007.
Ms. Yellen, her predecessors, and every other Fed apologist are simply wrong when they assert that the central bank is an independent agency that is free of political influence. The Federal Reserve System was created by an act of Congress (1913) and can ultimately be “reformed,” altered, and or abolished by Congressional fiat if so desired.
That Congress does not oversee Fed policy is a result of its charter, which was originally crafted by the Big Banksters of the time (mostly the Rockefellers and Morgans) in concert with their bought for and paid politicians. The lack of oversight was a deliberate part of their plan to give bankers and financers free rein to conduct monetary policy for their own benefit.
The Federal Reserve is and has always been a political creature designed for the benefit of financial elites. It is a highly privileged cartel with monopoly control of the nation’s money supply. Unlike the propaganda which emits from Fed officials, the central bank was instituted to protect banksters from financial collapse and bank runs. Fine tuning the economy, reducing unemployment, or fighting inflation are all ancillary concerns for the Fed.
These are the simple facts which are deliberately kept from the public at large by the political establishment, academia and the media.
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The Audit the Fed movement, which began in earnest with Ron Paul’s first presidential run, is a wrongheaded approach to solve the nation’s ongoing financial crisis. Senator Rand Paul’s bill is mostly grandstanding to bolster his status among the Republican Party’s populist contingent in his anticipated race for the nomination.
In fact, instead of meaningful reform, greater public oversight of the Fed would most likely lead to worse results. Every Congressman and Senator would be pressuring the central bank to fund their pet projects. Can one imagine what the growth rate of the money supply would be if 535 ravenous politicians had a say in the conduct monetary policy?!
Those who want to reverse the nation’s economic malaise should seek the Federal Reserve’s abolition and advocate its replacement with a de-politicized monetary order free of central banking. Such a system would most likely be based on a commodity (gold and/or silver) where “money producers” are free to engage in the creation of the “best money” and banking services to satisfy customers’ needs.
In such an order, banks would function as any other enterprise by profit and loss. If banks loan funds wisely, they will succeed; if not, they will fail and go out of business replaced in the marketplace by more savvy entrepreneurs. There will be no bailouts at taxpayers’ expense for reckless financial speculation. Money and banking would become a sound and honest undertaking.
To actually believe that an Audit the Fed initiative would become law is beyond naïve. The political establishment will never voluntarily relinquish or allow any legitimate oversight of one of its chief pillars of power.
Instead of seeking change via politics, reformers must first change the climate of public opinion which can only be accomplished when the prevailing ideology is debunked. Until the Federal Reserve is seen as an engine of inflation and the creator of economic disorder which needs to be eradicated, America’s financial woes will, unfortunately, continue.
* Jon Hilsenrath, “Yellen Puts Fed on Path to Lift Rates,” The Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, 25February 2015, A1, A2.