Saturday, July 18, 2009

Economists’ Pro-Fed Petition Discredits Its Signers (Bob Higgs)

Bob Higgs debunks the laughable assertion made by Keynesian economists that Fed "independence" (more accurately, "secrecy") is actually good for us:

Robert HiggsA passel of bigwig economists has signed a petition urging Congress and the executive branch “to reaffirm their support for and defend the independence of the Federal Reserve System as a foundation of U.S. economic stability.” In support of this defense of the Fed against those now challenging the secrecy of its undertakings and, in some cases, its very existence, these economists offer three arguments.

First, “central bank independence has been shown to be essential for controlling inflation.” A little difficulty for this claim, however, resides in the undeniable fact that for more than a century before the Fed’s establishment, the purchasing power of the dollar fluctuated around an approximately horizontal trend line—that is, despite inflations and deflations usually associated with the wartime issuance of fiat money and the postwar return to specie-backed currency, the dollar more or less retained its exchange value against goods and services over the long run, whereas since the Fed’s establishment the dollar has lost more than 95 percent of its purchasing power. If this post-1913 experience is what these economists consider “controlling inflation,” I would not want to see what happens to a currency’s purchasing power when inflation is not controlled! It seems that the petitioning economists have placed the performance bar absurdly low in their judgment of the Fed’s containment of inflation. Evidently, barring a Weimar-Germany-style hyperinflation, they suppose that everything is hunky-dory on the monetary front.

Read the rest

1 comment:

JohnJ said...

"Independence" is their word for "unaccountable". I want to be independent from the Fed, but they're saying that the Fed should have control over my life and property. This is not what the word "independence" means.