Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen
Reading the comments of Janet Yellen and other Federal Reserve officials this past week brought to mind the words Jesus used to rebuke his disciples when they argued about who was t he greatest, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those who exercise authority over them are called ‘benefactors” (Luke 22:25). “Benefactors” translates the Greek word “euergetes,” a title adopted by many kings in the ancient Greek speaking world. To be known as a Euergetes was a way for the king to boast, letting all the world know what a charitable fellow he truly was.
But Christ did not leave it at that. In addition to telling his disciples what not to do, he also provided positive instruction about how those in positions of authority ought to behave, telling them, “he who is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he who governs as he who serves” (Luke 22:26). It is this passage that serves as the basis for the idea of government as a servant of the people.
I bring up Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve, because by their comments this week in opposition to a bill (H. R. 3189) before Congress, they once again they showed they think of themselves as “Benefactors” and lords rather than servants of the people. Established in 1913, the Federal Reserve is the central bank of the United States, and as the issuer of the US dollar, world’s reserve currency, it is among the most powerful institutions in the world. But despite the fact that its decisions affect the lives of every single American citizen, not to mention pretty much every person on the planet, the Federal Reserve conducts its business behind a veil of secrecy. H. R. 3189 would pull back the curtain on the Fed, allowing Congress and the American people better information on how the Fed goes about its business. Naturally, Yellen and others are appalled at the thought.
When asked to comment on the bill, Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker huffed that its provision to audit the Fed amounted a, “mechanism for high-frequency harassment.” In a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan and Democratic Leader Nancy Peolsi, Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen complained that the legislation requiring greater transparency from the Fed, “would severely damage the U.S. economy were it to become law.” In what amounts to something like comic relief, Yellen continued in the same letter by commenting that, had the bill’s provisions been law in 2008 during the financial crisis, “inflation would be even further below the FOMC’s [Federal Open Market Committee, the body of Federal Reserve governors tasked with setting interest rates] 2 percent objective. Indeed, a recent study by Federal Reserve economists suggests that…inflation would now be running somewhat below zero, if the FOMC had not taken the actins it did.” In other words, Yellen is complaining that had the Fed been held accountable by the provisions in H. R. 3189, she and her colleagues would be unable to destroy the value of your hard earned dollars as fast as what they are now doing. In fact, were this bill to become law, your money may well gain in value, as this is what Yellen means when she says, “inflation would now be running somewhat below zero.” Horrors! H. R. 3189 would stop the crony capitalists at the Fed from ripping off the rubes in fly over country. At all costs such madness must be stopped!
The Eccles Building, main office of the Federal Reserve located in Washington D.C.
In evaluating these comments it is worth noting what the Fed actually is, a private cartel of the bankers, by the bankers and for the bankers. The Fed does not have and never has had the best interests of the American people in mind. It’s overriding purpose is and always has been doing what is right by the private member banks that own it. The fact that it was given its charter in 1913 by an act of Congress means that it represents the merger of state and corporate powers, which is the very definition of fascism. Simply put, the Fed, far from being and exemplar of constitutional capitalism, represents instead monetary fascism. In light of this, it is not surprising that then Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke moved heaven and earth to bail out the banks-too-big-to-fail [n.b. in capitalism there is no such thing as too-big-to-fail; individuals and institutions reap what they sow] during the 2008 financial crisis.
The behavior of the Federal Reserve over the past 100 years – its secrecy, favoritism and cronyism – is a perfect example of the sort of unaccountable power and arrogance that is characteristic of the “rulers of the Gentiles” Christ spoke about. The Fed has lorded it over the people of the United States for over one hundred years and impoverished all of us in the process. It’s high time to audit the Fed. Then end it.
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