Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Audit the Fed – or end it? | fed, paul, auditing - Opinion - The Orange County Register

Sometimes persistence meets opportunity. Dr. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican congressman from Texas who ran an enthusiastic but ultimately quixotic campaign for the presidential nomination last year, has introduced a bill to audit the Federal Reserve System going back to 1983. He finally got some traction on the idea this year. His bill attracted 317 co-sponsors (180 Republicans, 137 Democrats). It is slated to be voted on and probably approved today as part of a much broader package of new government regulations on financial institutions.

Ironically, Dr. Paul will probably vote against it. His whole purpose in politics is to reduce regulation and government involvement in the economy, and he'll stick to those guns even though the bill has a little sweetener he likes.

Such adherence to principle is admirable and all too rare. Support for the idea of auditing the secretive Fed probably does not reflect widespread support for Dr. Paul's ultimate goal of abolishing the Fed, but a rising populist resentment of powerful secretive institutions and a sneaking suspicion that the Fed contributed to last year's financial fiasco and then focused on protecting bankers and other fat cats.

We hope support for auditing the Fed leads to more fundamental questioning of whether the Fed should exist at all. It's worth noting that the Fed was supposed to stabilize the money supply and the economy, but since it was formed in 1913, panics, downturns and financial fiascos have been more frequent and severe than they were before.

Whether that comes to pass, auditing the Fed and making its operations less opaque seems to be an idea whose time has come.

Source: Orange County register

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