Skip to comments.The Federal Reserve: Instigating Crisis Since 1913
Posted on 08/29/2009 8:33:37 PM PDT by BGHater
Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero.
The Federal Reserve in collaboration with the giant banks has created the greatest financial crisis the world has ever seen. The foolish notion that unlimited amounts of money and credit created out of thin air can provide sustainable economic growth has delivered this crisis to us. Instead of economic growth and stable prices, (The Fed) has given us a system of government and finance that now threatens the world financial and political institutions. Pursuing the same policy of excessive spending, debt expansion and monetary inflation can only compound the problems that prevent the required corrections. Doubling the money supply didnt work, quadrupling it wont work either. Buying up the bad debt of privileged institutions and dumping worthless assets on the American people is morally wrong and economically futile.
--Representative from Texas Ron Paul questioning Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke
Ron Pauls scathing assessment of the Federal Reserves primary role in creating the financial crisis and his raking of Chairman Bernanke over the coals is so accurate, truthful, and sane that it should blow your mind. Mr. Bernanke must have felt like his head was spinning like a top while Ron Paul gave him a tutorial in basic economics.
Mr. Pauls noble efforts to Audit the Fed (HR 1207) and eventually to rid the country of its insidious control over our lives will bring the pillars of the Federal Reserve building crashing down upon Mr. Bernanke in his mahogany-paneled gold-plated boardroom with ornate chandeliers.
The worldwide financial system experienced a 6.8 magnitude earthquake in September 2008. The very foundations of our economy were shaken to their core. The fear exhibited by government officials, politicians, and the public was palpable and real.
For a few weeks, there was the distinct possibility that the system would come crashing down. A massive printing of dollars and the clandestine buying-up of toxic assets by the Federal Reserve, behind-the-scenes deals with the biggest banks, covert currency-swap deals with foreign Central Banks, and the forcing of the FASB to change accounting rules to allow banks to fraudulently value bad loans temporarily staved off the final chapter in the 96 year old diabolical experiment in currency manipulation.
The moment the system stopped functioning was our Minsky Moment.
Hyman Minsky was an American economist and professor of economics at Washington University. Dr. Minsky put forward theories linking financial market vulnerability in the normal life cycle of an economy with speculative investment bubbles produced by financial markets. Minsky declared that in good times, when corporate cash flow rises beyond whats needed to pay off debt, a speculative bubble develops. And soon thereafter, debts exceed what borrowers can pay off from their incoming revenues. This, in turn produces a financial emergency. As a result of such dangerous debt bubbles, banks tighten credit availability -- even to companies with good credit -- and the economy enters recession.
This movement of the financial system from stability to crisis is the Minsky Moment. At this point, a major sell-off begins due to the fact that no counterparty can be found to bid at the asking prices previously quoted, leading to a swift and steep collapse in markets and a dramatic drop in market liquidity.
What Dr. Minsky failed to address was that the Federal Reserve has been responsible for every financial crisis in the United States since 1913.
The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 created the Federal Reserve Bank with the following mandate:
An Act to provide for the establishment of Federal reserve banks, to furnish an elastic currency, to afford means of rediscounting commercial paper, to establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States, and for other purposes.
The original mandate was clearly limited. The idea was that a Central Bank would be able to keep the periodic panics -- like the Panic of 1907 -- from ever happening again. It appears that four innocuous words opened up Pandoras Box and unleashed evils upon all mankind: and for other purposes.
The bankers who control the Federal Reserve along with their politician protectors have dramatically expanded the scope, authority, and influence of the Federal Reserve with each scientifically created crisis thats occurred in the last 96 years. Theyre attempting to grab more power as we speak.
Since 1913, the Federal Reserve has amassed more and more authority and now has vast responsibility and control over our lives. The Federal Reserve website lists the following functions:
By any reasonable measure, the Federal Reserve has failed miserably in all their responsibilities. When organizations fail in a capitalist system, theyre supposed to be replaced, not given more responsibility. Theyre now an immense entity with insidious tentacles throughout the worldwide financial system.
Arrogance and Incompetence
In 1915, according the Federal Reserve annual report, they operated with 35 total employees. Today, they operate with over 20,000 employees costing $1.4 billion per year. The cost to operate the system exceeds $3.3 billion. With 20,000 of the best and brightest, youd think someone would have predicted the current financial crisis before it hit.
Ben Bernanke thought the underpinnings of the economy were strong, housing was on a firm foundation, and the subprime issue was confined. This instance of incompetence is just one of many since 1913. When examining the history of the Federal Reserve, you realize that it has overwhelmingly been led by weak, pliable, politically motivated men with little or no backbone.
The last two Fed Chairmen have brought the country to the brink of disaster.Alan Greenspan (1987-2006)
"In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value.
--Alan Greenspan, from an article written in 1966 entitled Gold and Economic Freedom
The quote above would indicate a man whose principles in sound economic theory couldnt be compromised. That proved to be dreadfully wrong, as Alan Greenspan turned out to be the most political, Wall Street-pleasing, bubble-inducing Chairman of all time. His reign of power set the stage for the greatest financial collapse in US history.
During his first few years as Fed Chairman he successfully handled the stock market crash of 1987 and George Bush blamed him for losing the 1991 election by keeping monetary policy too tight, causing the 1991 recession. He worked well with Bill Clinton in keeping inflation and interest rates on a downward path, resulting in strong economic growth in the 1990s.
Greenspans hubris and belief in his own infallibility led him to use monetary policy to save the world in 1997 and 1998. During the Asian financial crisis of 1997-1998, Greenspan flooded the world with dollars, and organized a Wall Street bailout of the reckless, irresponsible hedge fund Long Term Capital Management. These choices by Greenspan began two decades of bailing-out failure. The Greenspan Put became known throughout the world. Everyone on Wall Street knew you could take excessive risk and if your gamble failed resulting in systematic risk, Greenspan would flood the system with dollars and save your ass.
After the dot-com bubble burst, the Y2K phony scare and the 9/11 attacks, Greenspan committed the worst offence of his 20-year monetary reign of terror: He initiated a series of interest cuts that brought the Federal Funds rate down to 1% in 2004 and left it at that level for over a year. He purposely created a housing bubble in order to artificially prop up the American economy after the huge stock-market losses. The excess liquidity unleashed by Greenspan caused lending standards to deteriorate, resulting in the housing bubble of 2004-2006 and the market meltdown beginning in 2008. His loose monetary policy resulted in a plunging dollar, surging commodity prices, and humungous trade deficits.
Greenspans unyielding belief in unfettered markets, unregulated derivatives, adjustable-rate mortgages for all, home-equity extraction as a spending source, and subprime lending to low-income people combined to cause a financial crisis that still threatens to destroy the American financial system. He denies responsibility for the financial crisis, but his speeches clearly point to his guilt.
Alan Greenspan sold his soul to the devil of Washington DC power and influence. He loved the accolades and headlines he received as the most powerful man in the world. The Maestro could pull the levers and make markets do as he wished. The man who knew that Federal Reserve manipulation caused the Great Depression disregarded his own words from 1966 and caused the worst economic calamity since the Great Depression. Ben Bernanke (2006-?)
Here's a Harvard-trained economist whos spent his entire life in academia and government service. As an expert on the Great Depression, Dr. Bernanke is 100% wrong in his assessment of its causes. He believes the Depression was caused by the Federal Reserve reducing the money supply in the early 1930s. He should talk to the Alan Greenspan of 1966. The Federal Reserve caused the Great Depression through its easy-money policies during the 1920s. The expansion of the money supply led to an unsustainable credit-driven boom. (Hmm. Does this remind you of any similar instances?)
In his famous 2002 Helicopter Ben speech, Bernanke previewed exactly what hed do as Federal Reserve Chairman in the current economic environment. He has followed the script to the letter. He has printed over a trillion dollars in the last year. Tax cuts have been rolled out. The dollar is being devalued. The only thing left is confiscation of gold. Is that next?
Despite his Ivy League education and all of the supposed brilliant resources at his disposal, Bernanke has shown a remarkable ability to not see the housing bubble or the collapse of the financial system. He was convinced in 2005 that the housing market was strong and healthy. He was sure that the subprime problems were confined and wouldnt spread into the greater economy. He now assures the public that hell know the proper time to withdraw the monstrous amount of stimulus hes pumped into the world economy before hyperinflation takes hold. Does his track record give you comfort that hell correctly figure out the right time to withdraw the stimulus?
After promising a more transparent Fed, Bernanke has done the complete opposite. He continues to withhold the names of all financial institutions that have borrowed from the Fed and wont reveal the worthless collateral that theyve put up for those loans. The Fed has lent in excess of $2.2 trillion to banks, yet theyve refused to reveal any information regarding these loans. Bloomberg News has sued the Fed under the Freedom of Information Act to force them to reveal where $2.2 trillion of taxpayer money has gone. Investment Manager Ted Forstmanns opinion was, Its your money; its not the Feds money. Of course there should be transparency.
Representative Ron Paul has introduced HR 1207 which would have the GAO audit the Federal Reserve every year and issue a report to Congress. Every public, and most private companies have an annual independent audit. Its a reasonable and smart thing to do. Operational weaknesses and fraud are often uncovered in these audits. The bill has 282 co-sponsors. Ben Bernanke -- Mr. Transparency -- wants no part of getting audited. Operating in the shadows is preferable. The Fed has proven to be anything but independent, stability isnt the first word that comes to mind when discussing our financial system, and the dollar has lost 95% of its purchasing power since 1913. The 14 men who have occupied the position of Federal Reserve Chairman should have occupied the office with a huge dose of humility. The complexity of financial markets makes it impossible for anyone to pull the levers of monetary policy in order to generate the result that you wish for. Humans are incapable of understanding the millions of interactions that make up world commerce. The Fed cannot control the emotions or irrational behavior of investors.
The Federal Reserve mandate of moderate long-term interest rates has clearly not been met. The Fed Funds Rate has plotted a path of extremes over the decades, ranging from 0% to 19%, not exactly stable. The Fed has consistently set rates too low, leading to credit bubbles, which always end in recession or depression. Free-market pricing wouldnt be manipulated or influenced by political considerations or agendas.
The mandate of maximum employment has also been a miserable failure. The easy-credit policies of the Federal Reserve during the 1920s led to the Great Depression, with unemployment rates exceeding 20%. Unemployment has averaged between 5% and 10% consistently since the formation of the Federal Reserve. Government bureaucrats have attempted to hide the true rate of unemployment through the use of deceptive categories and by changing the rules of the game. True unemployment, consistent with the way it was measured during the 1930s, is currently over 16%. This level of maximum employment is due to the policies of the Federal Reserve.
The facts prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Federal Reserve has failed in every one of its mandates: Inflation has destroyed the value of the dollar. Interest rates and employment have been violently erratic. The Fed has been manipulated by politicians, showing a complete lack of independence. And only two of the fourteen Chairmen have been truly independent and competent -- Paul Volcker and William McChesney Martin. The incompetence and arrogance of the other Chairmen have brought the country to its knees.
The final chapter is about to be written.
Our fiat currency system has proved to be a wretched failure. Within the next five years, a final crisis will bring an end to this diabolical experiment in hubris. Man is not smarter than the free markets. The US dollar is a piece of paper. It only has value because people have trust that the government issuing the paper is financially stable with rational fiscal policies.
This doesnt describe the United States of today. When the next crisis causes the dollar to collapse and uncontrollable inflation to result, abolition of the Federal Reserve will become feasible. Average Americans have been victims of the boom and bust caused by the Federal Reserve policies. The sole beneficiaries have been bankers, politicians, the military industrial complex, and the super-rich elite.
"But who are they?"
Can someone please tell me, succintly, what can be done to correct all of this garbage?
Finance is just not my area. I wish it were, but it seems so mundane. I know it’s important, but it’s just not my cup of tea.
for later perusal...............
Bingo. The Federal Reserve and fractional reserve banking have led us down a dangerous path. Going completely off any gold standard was the final straw — fiat currencies always fail.
1 - Deficit spending by gruberment: Freeze and then reduce guvmint spending in every category asap to the level of tax receipts. (This year USA spends 180% of receipts).
2 - Let the market force banks and financial institutions to resolve, work out, or eat their bad investments. Bankruptcy courts can handle the failed banks that can not resolve their bad investments. Share holders may get wiped out, but deposits are insured.
3 - Stop the Fed/Govt printing of cash and giving it to banks that made bad bets. Ultimately it will cause hyperinflation if not stopped.
4 - Win the Afghan war by kicking Taliban’s ass and then get the hell out fast after installing a friendly iron handed ruler. War spending needs to be diverted to USA infrastructure and local jobs.
5 - Use tax tools (import duties, whatever) to eliminate the balance of trade deficit. Heavily tax imports that can be manufactured in the US - create the jobs here so people can go back to work.
6 - Open up offshore drilling and enable compressed natural gas to be substituted as a transportation fuel on grand scale in the USA, vastly reducing dependence on liquid hydrocarbons, gasoline and diesel, which are imported and contribute to trade deficit.
7 - Forget cap and trade (it is a tax, and also Goldman Sachs does not need another toy to screw us with) and all the tax increases planned by the Pelosi congress, nation cannot afford to kill more business in time of economic depression.
8 - Tax credits to individuals and businesses for capital investment leading to job creation.
9 - Let the housing bubble work its way through the market naturally, without bailing any more mortgage debts or banks, or mortgage backed securities out.
10 - let the market set the interest rates.
This is not so difficult to do. All the economic problems we are having stem from failed Keynesian interventionist tweaking, political power plays, national socialistic takeover strategies (banks, car companies, insurance, healthcare targets). People are scared and that caused the economy to implode, coupled wth the fact that govt encouraged them to take on more debt than they could, and set up oil policies to allow $5/gal gas prices to slaughter family monthly budgets. Govt set up the economy for failure by pushing policies for an economy that the people can not afford. People need and want to pay their own bills, but this Obama govt wants to pay their bills for them and have people then serve their political masters - just like any communists want. All the fixes are aimed at increasing tyrannical power, so will actually fix nothing. What we have here is a perfect set up for a very disruptive revolution unless corrective measures are taken, and they are easy ones to do.
OK well it is not so succinct but it is pretty simple really.
End the Fed. That is what is needed they have created bubbles for years not to mention the obscene amounts of interest we have to pay for the government debt.
I was not that interested either at one time but I think you underestimate your interest or you would not be checking out these pieces.
You will find as you delve into it further there is much that it involves since in reality it affects your daily life. There is so much to learn and becomes so interesting in a while. Hang in there read through some of the comments, follow some of the links and your eyes will be opened.
Funny, I prefer being on top but they didn’t call and ask me to help out!
The Eagle Flies.
LOL - I have a feeling you’re the last type of person they want on top!
Probably. I’ve never “played well with others.”
Ya thanks. Just any page out of the Road to Serfdom pretty much gives us the roadmap we need.
Breaking the Bank: Central Banking Problems and Free Banking Solutions
It’s a good book that every freeper should read. It’s a book almost anyone could understand.
Every one of your points, FE, make sense, but I'm not too sure about the import duties and tariffs. On the surface it looks good, but how it compares to free trade and why one is better than the other ... don't know enough. Sounds too Pat Buchananish to me. Didn't Smoot-Hawley sink us the last GD? I aways understood it to be the final straw.
The other thing I don't understand is this whole fiat currency thing versus a precious metal standard. Seems like in a global market, you would want to have each country's currency float with the other.
Rick, thanks for the book tip. Central banking versus free banking is another thing I don't have a handle on. But why would one not want a strong, independent bank setting interest rates and determining when to increase or lower the money supply? Is it just because the constitution said it was congress's responsibility? Wouldn't having all of these other institutions making their own rates and drawing cash from their supply of deposits ... maybe I just answered my own question. Competition. Well, as long as monopolies and oligarchies didn't form and they had to have “x” amount of cash on hand.
***The other thing I don’t understand is this whole fiat currency thing versus a precious metal standard.***
It depends who you talk to. Those in favor of a metallic standard tend to believe that growth will not be affected and that there will no longer be inflation. They point to the CPI over the 1800’s which shows little to no average inflation over the century. Although there are some fluctuations in the money supply, they tend to attribute this to wars in which the government goes off the gold standard. They also point to the CPI over the 1900’s which has seen the dollar lose 95% of its value. They would probably point to a chart like this http://oregonstate.edu/cla/polisci/faculty-research/sahr/pl1665.htm that shows the money supply exploding with the advent of fiat currency. Fiat money allows for rampant and continuous inflation, and some maintain it is the cause of the business cycle or at least a contributing factor.
Those in favor of fiat currency tend to believe a steady amount of inflation is necessary for growth and that a metallic standard doesn’t allow the supply of money to expand to meet the needs of industry. They also point to the CPI during the 1800’s but focus more on the fluctuations in the supply of money, especially during economic depressions when the changes in the quantity of money are often quite large. By comparison, 20th Century inflation is more controlled and, with the exception of the Great Depression, changes in the money supply have been much more moderate. They would probably point to a graph like this http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/2/20/US_Historical_Inflation_Ancient.svg/800px-US_Historical_Inflation_Ancient.svg.png which shows far more fluctuations in the supply of money before the 1900’s.
I’ll get more into this later in the post.
***Central banking versus free banking is another thing I don’t have a handle on.***
There are really 3 categories in this debate: central banking, free banking, and 100% reserve banking. Both central banking and free banking make use of fractional reserve banking, but the former tends to utilize fiat currency (in order to be effective as a lender of last resort, it has to) while the latter tends to have a metallic money (generally if free banking has fiat money, a central bank will be established). 100% reserve banking can have either fiat or metallic money but most supporters of it will favor some sort of metallic or free market money.
On a side note, technically a metallic standard is a form of fiat. The word fiat is associated with paper not because it means paper, but because the only way to make a population accept paper as money is by law, i.e. by fiat. A metallic standard, though it protects against inflation is still a form of fiat in that the government is declaring the metal as legal tender. A free market in money would mean there are no legal tender laws and so people would be able to contract in any currency they desired, whether it be gold, shells, rocks, butter, paper, etc. Usually, metals tend to be selected as the general medium of exchange (gold and silver in particular). Most people when referring to a metallic standard do so not because they want the government passing laws saying what is and what isn’t money, but because metals have traditionally been the commodities chosen by the market as the best media of exchange. Thus a free market in money and a metallic standard are practically, but not technically, interchangeable.
Supporters of fractional reserve banking believe that it is necessary in order to provide funds for investment since the banking system adds new money to the economy in the form of new loans. Once the loans are repaid, the money disappears from the economy (if you’d like an explanation of fractional reserve banking, I’d be happy to give it to you), so as long as loans are being created and repaid at a similar rate, fluctuations in the money supply will be low, preferably towards moderate inflation. They believe that 100% reserve banking leads to too little investment since banks cannot use deposits for loans, only money that they own or that has been given to them for the purpose of loaning.
Supporters of 100% reserve banking believe that the only true investment in an economy comes from savings and that investment beyond society’s savings constitutes malinvestment which leads to the business cycle. In addition, loans from deposits or loans created out of thin air in fractional reserve banking do not add new purchasing power, they simply divert it since any increase in the supply of money will simply raise prices. Also, since inflation tends to be lower (usually to the point of being slight deflation) in 100% reserve banking, savings is encouraged because money gains value. This will produce more savings and thus more genuine investment as opposed to the malinvestment of fractional reserve banking.
***But why would one not want a strong, independent bank setting interest rates and determining when to increase or lower the money supply?***
The simple way of looking at this is by looking at the interest rate as a price, the price of borrowing money. If you are familiar with price controls, you know they can have a devastating effect on the economy, or at least an unpleasant one. The free market, or natural, interest rate would be set by the supply and demand of loanable funds (society’s voluntary savings), as well as premiums for risk or inflation/deflation. The central bank directly set all interest rates though (It sets the Discount rate, but this is usually closely correlated with the Fed Funds rate, which is not directly set). It targets them by increasing or decreasing the supply of loanable funds (increased supply=lower interest rate and vice versa), though these funds are not from society’s savings needless to say.
Increasing the money supply does not simply raise the general price level as some hold. It must first be given to and subsequently spent by someone. The act of printing money does nothing to prices, it is only when this money is spent that prices begin to rise and they will rise according to where the new money is spent. So certain sectors of the economy will spend the new money and and the receivers of that spent money will begin to raise prices. This affects all other customers of those sectors who did not receive the new money because they see prices going up with no corresponding rise in income, relatively speaking. This process trickles throughout the economy. Those who receive the new money last are hurt most since they have been paying higher and higher prices.
Hope this helps. If there’s anything you have questions about or anything that was unclear, I’d be happy to answer or re-explain.
The primary reason we have a centralized credit system is because ‘we the people’ apparently demand far too big a government. The book I reccomended will give you a very seldom heard historical view of the virtues of free-banking; but regardless, our culture is too big government to revert back to a system that promotes creation....vs consumption.
Interesting stuff. Thanks
I should also add that the gold standard we had in the 19th Century existed with central banking and free banking (not at the same time obviously). And although it was called free banking, the banks were often bailed out or allowed to suspend specie payment in times of trouble, so it wasn’t truly free banking. In any case, the gold standard was one with fractional reserve banking. This is why there are such large fluctuations in the money supply in the economy at various times in the 1800’s (in addition to wartime spending when the gold standard was more or less suspended).
As far as money goes, the economy can be structured in 4 ways. The first is 100% reserve banking with a medium of exchange whose supply can not be manipulated by the government (e.g. a metallic standard or a free market in money). The second is 100% reserve banking (hard/sound) with a medium of exchange whose supply can be manipulated by the government (e.g. unbacked paper money). The third and fourth are the first and second scenarios respectively, but with fractional reserve banking instead of 100% reserve banking. The third scenario would probably have free banking (though not necessarily) while the fourth scenario would probably have central banking.
AuditTheFed.com now has 76,000 supporters.
Let’s get this sucker audited ASAP!!!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.