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More gesture politics

In a mirror-image of a six-year-old quote-applicable to current events under the U.S. Capitol dome-we now know that members of the legislative branch, in deciding whether to audit the Fed, just voted against it before voting for it.

Most of us were not yet around when an earlier generation of legislators in the twin chambers adjacent to the capitol rotunda voted to create the Fed as a way of side-stepping their own constitutional duty of managing the American currency for value and stability.

In 1913, dissatisfied with private-sector banking's issuance of bank notes over a 124-year period with a dismal record of 12 percent in dollar-value shrinkage, the legislators installed a bureaucracy which has presided over (or orchestrated-you choose the correct verb) a 95 percent loss in purchasing power.

To this day, you won't find that historical performance record discussed in the mainstream news media, much less conceded by Fed leadership itself.

Critics of the dollar-value shrinkage have been ignored or silenced: in my own amateur economist readings, I've learned that ex-Wall Streeter Benjamin Graham in the 1930s and past Fed member Wayne Angell in the 1990s proposed commodity based currency-stabilization designs. Meanwhile, present U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan started making commodity basket suggestions during the 2000s. But the history of Fed fecklessness goes back to its pre-World War I birth, not just the Great Depression.

Nowhere is it better described than in a 2009 tome entitled "Lords of Finance" authored by Liaquat Ahamed.

In 564 pages, "Lords..." paints a century-long portrait of European and American financial leadership stippled with a document cascade of inept decisions, colleague deception, incorrect statistics, and raw politicking-a pattern preceding and paralleling, within the American Fed, the goings-on in the various European central banks.

Instead of relying on the "skilled" judgment of financial wizards to manage currency for constant value (the Fed now admits its goal is 2 percent annual inflation), the commodity dollar would be on automatic pilot so that its commodity purchasing power would remain constant, neither inflating nor deflating.

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