Gesture politics: We the People vs. the Fed

It took $1.12 in 1913 to buy what a dollar bought in 1789, according to the Economic History website. And then, under the notion that Progressive-only experts should run everything in 1913, Congress created a fed entity to do the job for them (and of course more skillfully than the private sector).

The Economic History website also reports on the dismal result: the decline in dollar value under Federal Reserve management in the 95 years from 1913 to 2008: 95 percent.

It took $22.40 to equal the earlier $1, so you might think that this double-95 is the cause of the present Congressional "Fed-angst"-after all, how would a manufacturer with a 95 percent deficient-product output rate fare in the marketplace?. This fact isn't even mentioned by one critic, Vermont's own self-admitted socialist U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders nor by his unlikely fellow-critic, Texas libertarian U.S. Rep. Ron Paul (with whom the former declines to co-operate on actual bill language), unless you count a brief passage in Paul's 2009 book, titled "End the Fed".

I'd guess that every member of the legislative branch (with few glaring exceptions) is sufficiently intelligent and well-informed to know the branch's own historical aversion to doing its own currency-management job, and to know the sorry 95/95 record of their own creation, the Fed, in that respect, and thus I'd guess that the "Audit-the-Fed" gambit is gesture politics only, intended as street theatre with a slight risk that it might, if they lose control of the constituent activists, (think Vermont's recent legislative Shut Down Vermont-Yankee campaign) get out of rhetorical control and into dangerous reality.

Suppose that the unwanted actually happens: an audit is voted and hearings begin. Who, then, on the legislative side would speak of the Fed's own 95/95 record? Would the present Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke recite his typical stump-speech actually claiming successful Fed stabilization of the value of the dollar, transparency in governance, and aloofness from mere politics? Presumably, Bernanke would expect no legislator to rebut by reciting the Fed's $1 then equals $22.40 now record (which currency value decline has continued unabated on his 4-year watch, 8 percent, using Bureau of Labor Statistics data) or the notorious opacity of former Chairman Greenspan's public comments

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