This Wednesday we’re taking a break from Bigfoot to talk about another terrifying creature: the Federal Reserve System.
I don’t typically write about the Federal Reserve System because, well, I don’t really get it. Sure, I’ve taught about it, and I get the general gist of what it is alleged to do, but like most Americans, I know that it tinkers with interest rates and is incredibly boring.
As a kid, I’d hear about Alan Greenspan and how significant he was. Janet Yellen, the who I thought was still the chair of the Fed (nope—she’s the Secretary of Treasury now, apparently), sounds like a walrus with head cold, and strikes me as about as lively as block of wood. These are not inspiring or interesting people, but they are immensely powerful.
I have long held the vague sense that the Fed is bad—bad for the American people generally, as central banks tend to be. I didn’t realize how wicked the institution is until I watched G. Edward Griffin’s extensive talk based on his book The Creature from Jekyll Island.
It is long—nearly two hours in length—but very much worth the watch (or listen). I recommend listening while doing some chores around the house (I listened to it while I was washing dishes and cleaning the kitchen).
Here are some the key points:
- The Federal Reserve System was designed to cartelize, essentially, large banks.
- The concept for the Fed was hammered out on Jekyll Island, Georgia, in utter secrecy, then sold to the American people a few years later.
- It is a partnership between the government and the banking industry, which is why the President of the United States appoints the Fed Chair, but the Fed is not officially a government agency.
- The Fed is able to create “money” out of thin air, which it loans to the United States government and other banks.
- A $100 deposit in a bank can “become” $900 after a series of loans ($100 gets loaned out as $90, which is deposited; from that $90 deposit, $81 can be loaned out; and so on).
- The Fed began moving interest rates lower initially (in the early twentieth century) because businesses and individuals were self-funding expansion, rather than taking out loans from banks; lower interest rates increase the incentives for borrowing money, getting more businesses and individuals hooked on debt.
There’s more than that, so I encourage you to watch the video. It’s a good listen, and you’ll come away with a completely different understanding of the Federal Reserve.