In this part of our case we are going to explore Washingtons monetary policy, focusing on two areas. First, who is driving our monetary policy and why. Second, what will be the result of this policy for us as individual Americans. These are crucial areas of inquiry because economics affects everything. The fundamental ability to buy and sell to meet our basic needs, to say nothing of our wants and desires, is at stake. If Washington is no longer following monetary policies, or even the dictates of common sense, for our benefit over the long term, but is instead seeking to line the pockets of a few for the short term and in so doing is putting the nation itself at great risk, something must be done. If it is systemic, which I believe it is, then it is more than reasonable to consider detaching ourselves from such a corrupt and insane system before we are sucked into the abyss of total economic collapse.
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Article one, section eight of the Constitution gives the power to the congress to coin money and regulate the value thereof. The people, through their representatives, are supposed to be the ones driving monetary policy in this country. This is no longer the case. Nearly one hundred years ago we turned this most crucial regulatory power over to the Federal Reserve and a group of unelected bankers. The promise was that a central bank would even out the business cycle, tempering the highs and protecting us from the lows. In less than twenty years there were two depressions, one which we labeled great. Yet the folly continued and does so to this day. Why? Power and money, pure and simple. Through monetary policy the Fed can move the economy and by doing so make or break elected officials. It can also use its power to create and regulate the value of money and its increasingly broad regulatory powers to benefit those whom it chooses. This creates an incestuous relationship between national politicians and the money men who run the bank. It is the first and greatest special interest.
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Lets look more closely at this relationship. Who are the Federal Reserve and the Treasury populated with? Men from Wall Street. Particularly Goldman Sachs of late. Who are these men and women going to be concerned with pleasing? Investors and bankers on Wall Street. It is a cozy relationship that leaves most of us on Main Street out in the cold and footing the bill. Why should we the taxpayer be on the hook for hundreds of billions or even trillions of dollars in bailout money for private businesses? Why should we pay to protect the investments of insiders while our own investments have plummeted in value? Where did this idea come from that anyone or any business in this country is too big to fail? Failure is a essential part of the free market economy. Capitalism is the survival of the fittest and it is the fittest that provides us with high quality goods and services. The failure of businesses that become sloppy or inefficient provides entrepreneurs the opportunity to provide a similar good or service at a better price or with better quality. However, if a business knows that it has a government safety net and government help through regulation, it can afford to be sloppy and inefficient and remain confident a new small business will not come along and threaten its monopoly. Is it any wonder that Lehman Brothers, a primary competitor of Goldman Sachs, was not too big to fail? Or that General Motors, with all its union contracts, was bailed out while the independent dealers, who are small businesses, were forced out? Government should not be in the insurance business at all, at any level. It should not insure deposits at Bank of America, it should not insure homes in Florida, it should not insure the viability of General Motors. These are our tax dollars, money taken from us and given to others who were not smart enough to protect their own assets or run their business efficiently. Why should an employee at Ford be forced to have his money taken from him and given to General Motors? Why should my money be taken from me to rebuild a home in South Carolina after it has been washed away for the third or fourth time? Why should you be fleeced to pay the deposits of someone who put their money in a failing bank when you did your homework to ensure your bank was sound? None of it is right and we should not put up with it or expect to benefit from it.
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When government relinquishes its role as referee among businesses, ensuring a just playing field, and becomes a partner with business, business decisions becomes political decisions with all the baggage that brings with it. Political considerations, corruption and special interests dominate decision making on both sides. On the business end, service and quality suffer because the primary goal of the business is no longer to be efficient and profitable but politically astute, because its survival depends more on the people it knows in government than on the customer. On the government end, special interests and lobbyists multiply, corruption abounds and the primary consideration of politicians is reinforcing their power through cooperating with or shaking down businesses, large businesses in particular. The big loser; we the people.. We are no longer the focus of the business model and therefore the quality of goods and services we receive falls. We are denied opportunities to compete as small businesses because the friends big businesses have in government tax and regulate us to the point where it is difficult, if not impossible, to compete. The playing field is no longer level. Government is no longer focused on our desires as constituents. It passes laws and regulations to benefit the big businesses and big labor regardless of how much they cost us in money and freedom. This is not the peoples government, it is no longer even a representative republic.
Now lets see what grave consequences this abdication of responsibility and common sense has wrought. Consider first the great hidden tax that is the result of our absolutely insane monetary policy. The amount of debt and fiat money we have created to pay off special interests and create programs of dependency has led to inflation, the rate of which has varied over the years. Consider that in the first 124 years of our history before we had the Fed the dollar actually rose in value. Since that time it has fallen over ninty percent. Right now we consider it benign but there have been times where it has gone into double digits and destroyed wealth just as surely as a stock market crash. Look at it this way. Lets say that inflation is a rather modest three percent. You put your money into a bank CD that has an APR of 2.75. At the end of the year the money you have invested will have lost buying power yet you will be taxed on the gain, stealing more of your wealth.
January 7, 2010