Bernanke Sends Thank you Notes to Audit-the-Fed Opponents
It sounds like Ben's not such a bad guy afterall. He is polite enough to send letters of gratitude and thanks to his faithful minions. If you've been rooting for the Fed and its independence to do whatever they please with no consequences, Ben wants you to know your cheerleading hasn't gone unnoticed.
In July, Bernanke sent thank-you notes to five Democratic members of Congress in response to their speeches encouraging fellow policy makers to reject Ron Paul's “Audit the Fed” bill. The lucky recipients include Reps. Barney Frank, Elijah Cummings, Melvin Watt, Carolyn Maloney and Steny Hoyer.
Bernanke wanted to let the opponents know that their humble efforts in lieu of their failure to defeat the bill were not done in vain.
“While the outcome of the vote was not in doubt, your willingness to stand up for the independence of the Federal Reserve is greatly appreciated,” Bernanke wrote in the letters, which were obtained by POLITICO through a Freedom of Information Act request.
He continued, “Independence in monetary policy operations is now the norm for central banks around the world — and it would be a grave mistake were Congress to reverse the protection it provided to the Federal Reserve more than 30 years ago.”
I guess even the losers deserve some sort of participation trophy, even it is just a simple thank-you letter. Fed spokesman David Skidmore says it is common practice for the chairman to write thank you notes to various member of Congress for their good work.
Still, Bernanke remains uneasy about the fact that lawmakers now have an opening to weigh in on the central bank's policy decisions. Mr. Bernanke argues that every Fed decision should be unbiased, free from all political influences – since that's worked out so well so far...
In a House Financial Services Committee hearing in July, Bernanke said, “I think that would have a chilling effect and would prevent the Fed from operating on the apolitical and independent basis that is so important.”
Meanwhile, supporters counter-argue that defense, saying that the Fed needs to be held accountable for poor and hasty decisions by having some sort of system of checks-and-balances since it holds such a powerful position in today's crumbling economy.
Although Paul doesn't have a lovely thank-you note to display on his refrigerator, I'd still say this has been a win for him and the other “Audit the Fed” supporters. But I'm sure Ben's thank-you letters were received warmly... let's just hope the stationary was the only thing Ben had printed especially for these guys.+13
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