Warning: Insanity in the Air

This from John Mauldin: "According to Bloomberg and The Hill, Barney Frank plans to submit a bill that would remove the votes of the five regional Federal Reserve presidents from the 12-member Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), which sets interest rates, and replace them with five appointees that would be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

Frank says "he is concerned that the process is undemocratic because the regional Fed presidents are not elected or appointed by elected representatives, and he believes that regional Fed presidents are overly likely to focus on guarding against inflation at the expense of more adequately tackling the country's unemployment crisis." (US News and World Report)

Basically, he wants the Fed to be subservient to the politicians. Under his proposal, the FOMC could lose what independence it has in a short time. This is part of a strain of thought that suggests that the decisions that affect all of us should be made by a few elite people who purport to understand what is going on, which coincidentally are government insiders and the academics who foster their agendas.

How did Weimar and other hyperinflation incidents occur? When power was in the hands of a few well-intentioned elites who did not understand the long-term consequences, or were acting in self-interest without transparency or any check on their decisions. The Fed is designed to be a system of checks and balances, with no one president getting to appoint all the governors (they have 14-year terms), in order to try to remove the process as much as possible from political interference. That does not mean they will make the right decisions, but in this I agree with the alarmists: history suggests that without some constraint (gold standards as an example) hyperinflations may occur."

Students of history will understand that we Americans make a lot of our economic decisions with a great sensitivity to the trauma of the Great Depression. Germans, on the other hand, have a a tremendous sensitivity to unemployment and hyperinflation. Governments are historically fond of inflating their way out of debt problems. This also amounts to a confiscation of wealth from private citizens! Citizens....resurrectio!