Freddy’s post about the attention given to the Audit the Fed bill raises some interesting questions about what its ultimate impact is going to be.
This story in the Politico also sheds light on the new found respect for Ron Paul, but perhaps the biggest watershed was the article in last month’s American Prospect (not online) about the growing bipartisan hostility to the Fed, which manages to give Dr. Paul a passing mention. The author, Bob Kuttner, places himself squarely in the left-populist tradition that led Bernie Sanders to be an original co-sponsor of the Senate version of the bill.
Kuttner recalls that as recently as the 70s a group of populist congressman led by Wright Patman and Henry Gonzalez began a similar challenge to the Fed. Patman was no namby-pamby Jim Hightower act – when he first entered Congress in the late 30s, he was even an ally of Father Coughlin.
A lot of these developments hit me on a personal level. My first entree into political radicalization was in learning about the Fed at the tender age of 15, namely through the literature of a shady character some of you Buchanan Brigade veterans might remember named Charles Collins – don’t ask about how I met the guy. But years later I had pretty much given up on the issue when suddenly the Ron Paul Revolution came to town.
The libertarians among us will cry foul, but I for one would be quite pleased to see a triangulation of the Audit the Fed bill with Obama’s plan for giving it new regulatory powers – in other words for the Fed to become a normal federal agency, with proper congressional oversight and accountability (far from perfect of course). This would seem to be what Bernie Sanders has in mind with his getting behind the bill, and perhaps even someone like Barney Frank.
If Obama seems too beholden to the likes of Summers and Bernanke to resist even this, I would draw an analogy to the passage of the Wagner Act, which FDR only went along with quite reluctantly after Congress backed up by the grassroots demanded it, and yet still ineluctably became a part of his legacy.
In any event, this is certainly a far more realistic scenario than the apparent fantasy, with all due respect, of Sean Scallon in the forthcoming TAC that the contemporary Republican Party could be Andrew Jackson to Bernanke’s Nicholas Biddle.