Ben Margot, File, Associated Press
Perhaps it was a farewell gesture to Ron Paul, who, after serving in Congress three different times and running for president three times, is retiring at age 76.
The House finally approved legislation long sought by the libertarian Republican, a bill calling for a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve and its 12 regional banks.
Paul has been a longtime proponent of dismantling the central bank, saying in a statement, "If Congress were really serious about limiting the size of government, it would eliminate the most important enabler of government profligacy by ending the Fed."
Basically, the Fed is in charge of the nation's monetary policy, playing a central role in controlling the money supply and setting interest rates and keeping the dollar competitive against other currencies.
The Fed is already subject to a number of annual audits and the minutes of the deliberations of its board of governors are a matter of public record, although on a delayed basis.
The Fed doesn't object generally to the audit but it objects vehemently to audits that would demand documents by Fed policymakers on the pros and cons of supporting changes in interest rates, decisions that affect everything from home mortgages to car loans to saving accounts.
Chairman Ben Bernanke said it would be a "nightmare scenario" that could open up the Fed's deliberations to political interference from Congress and the White House. Being able to open a spigot of cash would be a powerful political tool but one dangerous to the economy's health.
However far the Paul bill goes, Congress must insure that nothing jeopardizes the independence of the Fed and or is even seen as an encroachment on its economic impartiality.
- In our opinion: School reformers should study...
- Greg Bell: Lessons learned form the campaign...
- In our opinion: Encouraging the wealthy to...
- Frank Pignanelli & LaVarr Webb: Our frank...
- In our opinion: Where has the family values...
- Letter: What is ‘common good?’
- Drew Clark: Critics of Utah's low-tax,...
- 12 non-believers who have kind words for the...
- Greg Bell: Lessons learned form the... 79
- Richard Davis: It's time for a new... 54
- In our opinion: New conservative war on... 50
- In our opinion: Where has the family... 48
- Dan Liljenquist: Ebola virus has... 29
- Jay Evensen: If FCC bans Redskins'... 28
- Charles Krauthammer: We need to... 27
- Mia Love included in a new ad... 21