Pat Buchanan

The decades-long campaign of Ron Paul to have the Government Accountability Office do a full audit of the Federal Reserve now has 313 sponsors in the House.

Sometimes perseverance does pay off.

If not derailed by the establishment, the audit may happen.

Yet, many columnists and commentators are aghast.

Going Rogue by Sarah Palin FREE

An auditors' probe, they wail, would imperil the Fed's independence and expose it to pressure from Congress to keep interest rates low and money flowing when the need of the nation and economy might call for tightening.

They cite Paul Volcker, who to squeeze double-digit inflation out of the economy in the late Carter and early Reagan years, drove the prime rate to 21 percent, causing the worst recession since the Depression. Volcker, they claim, prepared the ground for the Reagan tax cuts and seven fat years of prosperity.

That decade, America created 20 million jobs -- and another 22 million in the Clinton era. Without Volcker putting the economy through the wringer, it could not have happened. And had he been forced to explain his decisions, Congress would have broken his policy.

Such is the cast for Fed independence.

But if true, what does this say about our republic?

Is it not an admission that, though Congress was created by the Constitution, and the Fed is a creation of Congress, our elected representatives cannot be trusted with the money supply, cannot be trusted with control of the nation's central bank? To have decisions made in the national interest, we need folks who do not have to answer to voters.

If this be true, the republic is closer to its end than its beginning, when Thomas Jefferson said, "In questions of power, let us hear no more of trust in men, but rather bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution."

Others contend that were it not for the independence and vision of Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, the economy might have gone over the cliff and into the abyss after the Lehman Brothers collapse in October 2008.

What opponents of Paul's audit are thus saying is that elected legislators must be kept out of the temple where the great decisions about the economy are made, that these decisions must rest with bankers and economists answerable, as is the Supreme Court, to themselves and no one else.

But has the performance of the Fed been so brilliant any intrusion upon its privacy is sacrilege?


Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
 
TOWNHALL DAILY: Be the first to read Pat Buchanan's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com daily lineup delivered each morning to your inbox.
 
©Creators Syndicate