Anything Less than Full Disclosure Is Unacceptable

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". . .no longer will decisions that carry so much economic weight be made in absolute secrecy."

Last week a new bill was introduced in the Senate to audit the Federal Reserve. Some backers of my bill HR1207 and the existing Senate companion bill S.604 were a little miffed at this, but depending on how you think about it, this new legislation poses no great threat to our efforts.

Because of the many problems we face, the Federal Reserve and its powers over the economy have come under scrutiny. This translates into a lot of political pressure on Congress. With all the House Republicans signed on as co-sponsors and over half of the Democrats, HR 1207 has enormous bipartisan support. It would be disingenuous for Washington not to embrace the principles behind this bill after all the promises for transparency. How can one credibly argue for more transparency in government in one breath and defend the secrecy of the Fed in the next?

However, there is still very powerful resistance to the disclosures that HR 1207 would require and efforts to weaken it will continue before this issue is settled.

The good news is that Washington is responding and the Federal Reserve has become the issue. Concerned Americans need to keep the pressure on by continuing to define what we want, and what we do not want.

One major concern is that HR 1207 constitutes some kind of power grab for Congress. Congress would not do a better job dictating interest rates or managing money supply growth than the Fed does for exactly the same reasons: Congress is not the free market. HR 1207 does not seek to replace the wisdom of the Fed with the wisdom of Congress. That would be a giant step backwards.

What we do want, what we insist upon, is that no longer will decisions that carry so much economic weight be made in absolute secrecy. We want to know what arrangements the Fed makes with other governments and central banks. We want to know who is benefitting from the actions of the Fed and what deals are being made. As good as any step towards Federal Reserve transparency is, anything less than full disclosure at this point is unacceptable.

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