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J. Bradley Jansen is the director of the Center for Financial Privacy and Human Rights, part of the Liberty and Privacy Network. He is an adjunct scholar at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. Jansen holds a BA in International Studies from Miami University (Ohio), with advanced studies in economic history at Universidad Católica de Valparaíso (Chile) and law and economics at George Mason University School of Law. Follow him on twitter at http://www.twitter.com/bradleyjansen.

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The Fed Is Too Powerful To Be Unaccountable

Now is the time to examine the proper functions of the Federal Reserve System–especially those of the Board–and make systemic changes.

The popularity of US Rep. Ron Paul’s bill to audit the Fed taps into a great pent-up frustration about the unaccountability of the very powerful institution. Independent socialist Bernie Sanders of Vermont is the senate sponsor. While Dr. Paul, my former boss, wants to go as far as getting rid of the Fed, he wisely offered an opportunity for us to learn more and make a more informed decision.

We have just learned that the Fed will return $46 billion dollars from 2009 earnings to the US Treasury. Explains the Washington Post, “The Fed, unlike most government agencies, funds itself from its own operations and returns its profits to the Treasury.” The article continues, “By the end of 2009, the Fed owned $1.8 trillion in U.S. government debt and mortgage-related securities, up from $497 billion a year earlier. The interest income on those investments was a major source of Fed profits — though that income comes with risks, as the central bank could lose money if it later sells those securities to reduce the money supply.”

So the Fed makes most of its profit from taxpayers paying interest on the national debt. All thanks to irresponsible Congressional spending (terrible under Pres. Bush and continuing under Pres. Obama). Under this Congressional shell game, politicians claim “income” from the Fed on the interest on the national debt. As they say on TV, don’t try this at home! According to the Federal Reserve Board press release, the Fed’s net income in 2009 was $52.1 billion and they returned $46.1 billion to the US Treasury for operating expenses of $8 billion (these numbers are “unaudited” and subject to change). In 2008, the Fed returned $31.7 billion on $35.5 billion of net income–with operating expenses of only $3.8 billion. The Fed was twice as bloated, wasteful and inefficient last year as the previous year.

Even worse, only with a more complete audit of the Fed (such as under Dr. Paul’s proposal) could we find out the devil in the details. We already know that the Fed is returning approximately $46.1 billion dollars to the Treasury of the $46.1 billion it got from interest on the debt last year. How nice of them.

Given the gross profits by some money center banks from bond dealing, there are rampant rumors that Bernanke was active buying and selling bonds at a net loss in order to boost the bottom line of financial special interests. If true–and only Dr. Paul’s audit could give us the answer, there is more back door special interest corruption for Wall Street fat cats at taxpayer expense than know of from TARP, Fed Section 13.3 and other bailouts. Taxpayers have a right to know.

There Are 3 Responses So Far. »

  1. I believe the FED is just a baseless ponzi scheme sparking irretrievable loss of our currency’s value. What is the real purpose – or better yet – any possible ‘real reason’ behind having the FED? Anyone? Anyone? Sure, there are plenty of diplomatic answers to that question, but do any of them having any real footing in fundamental economics? I mean the kind of economics you would run a simple household on? Those ‘basics’ still work, you know! They’ve kept us living out of debt’s bondage for years… and will this country too – if we ever decide to return to reason

  2. Profitability in the banking sector is largely based on pretend and extend. It is a house of cards held up by very carefully managed perceptions in which the banksters pretend their toxic assets have full value and money (backstopped by the taxpayer) is extended to keep the scam in play based on the greater fool theory. How much longer can they keep the illusion viable? Until they wring the last dollar out of the gullible public’s pocket.

  3. […] he wisely offered an opportunity for us to learn more and make a more informed decision.” Read more. The Fed Is Too Powerful To Be Unaccountable Bradly Jansen Implode-O-Meter Blog, January 12, […]

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