Show: Morning Meeting
Dylan Ratigan: The bill no longer audits the Fed. In fact, the legislation gives Congress no control over the Fed’s authority to make monetary policy. That, perhaps, is a worthwhile debate, but it does not require any transparency either in the Fed’s secret agreements with foreign central banks, not to mention the monies that are pushed out to our own banks. Committee chair Barnie Frank told his constituents back in August that Congressman Paul’s plan would pass, likely in October. For the record it is now November and there is still no vote and if there were to be a vote it would be on a gutted version of the bill! Thirteen committee Democrats currently signed on to this shell of the Fed audit bill and now we’ll wait up and see if they’ll stand up for real change or just push through more false solutions in Washington DC.
Joining us now is Republican Committee member Ron Paul who originally proposed Audit the Fed. He will present and amendment before the full vote to get real reform back into the legislation. Chrystia Freeland is also here.
Representative Paul, in brief explain to all of us why you think it is so important that the American taxpayer be able to see what is going on inside of the Federal Reserve? Why does that matter, why should we care so much?
Ron Paul: It’s because everybody uses dollars as our currency and it’s an international currency. So it is very, very important, and yet it’s managed by a small group of people really run by the Federal Reserve board chairman and they decide each and every day how much money there should be printed that week and what the interest rates should be. So they are the central economic planners. And since they can create credit out of thin air and take care of their friends and buddies, which means that the burden is placed on the taxpayers… not directly with a tax but indirectly by devaluing their money. And that means that every time a price goes up, whether it’s medical care cost or education, you’re really paying a tax.
But the thing that gripes me most is it’s done secretly and they’re supposed to be like they’re sacred and never have their books opened. But one thing good has come out of this crisis; that the American people are demanding transparency and I think that’s why I’ve gotten so many co-sponsors on this bill. We do have a 130 Democrats on this, 308 total total supporters of this bill. So it will be a shame if we don’t get this through and it is true, it is going through the committee right now and today or tomorrow I might have my chance to offer my amendment and put it into the bill.
Chrystia Freeland: Congressman Paul, who is opposed to your push for transparency, who’s fighting it?
Ron Paul: The Fed. The Fed has actually, I think for the first time in their history, hired a lobbyist and the lobbyist used to work for ENRON. So they’re diligently pumping up the fear. You know, “Oh, if we know what was going on with the Fed it would causes tremendous inflation, it would cause interest rates to go up and all sorts of things. You know, if we knew what was going we might create a financial crisis.” It’s the Fed and the banks and the big corporations and some of the politicians are in the know and getting benefits. But the system depends on the control of money. But this is not new, this is historic.
The king in the old days always had control of the money, they did it in different ways. They clipped coins, diluted the metal, printed money. Today it’s really sophisticated; it’s done secretly with a computer and that’s why it has made it so much more dangerous than ever before.
Dylan Ratigan: Let’s just back away for a second because the Fed lobbyist some of the CEOs, some of the bank CEOs quite honestly might have a point. What if we were to look inside the Federal Reserve as you suspect, I certainly suspect it and I think Christian Freeman suspects it, anybody who understands how our financial system was built over the past 10 years suspects, that all those trillions of dollars that the Federal Reserve… that were collateralized… they’ve taken from the banks, is worth far less than it’s currently been represented as. So let’s say that that the 8 trillion of the Fed may be only worth 4 trillion. And everybody is basically trying to cover up the fact that there is this huge hole, this huge fraud has been perpetrated by the banks and the fraud would reveal itself truthfully if they were to audit the Federal Reserve and that would cause panic. Let’s assume they’re right, let’s assume that you’re right, let’s assume that this is worthless crap at the Fed, how do you deal with that fallout if, in fact, we get what we want and they open the closet. And what do you think is in there is in there, which is nothing?
Ron Paul: But pretending it’s worth 8 trillion is worth 2 trillion or even less doesn’t solve our problems. It just delays the agony. For me it would be like in medicine someone had cancer and we treated him with aspirin and we said, “Oh you don’t want to know the truth, and we don’t give you a real treatment”. You have to know the truth and you have to have a real treatment and today they won’t look at the real truth and the cause of the business cycle and the cause all the financial bubble and then the bursting of that bubble. What they’re doing is they’re saying, “Oh, all we need are more regulations, and what we need to do is prop up all the bad debt. We don’t want liquidation of debt, we don’t want the prices down, let’s stimulate housing” and on and on. So they’re doing everything that caused the bubble before to try to re-inflation the bubble, and believe me, they’re not going to be able to do it this time.
Chrystia Freeland: Congressman Paul, I agree with you that there is a little bit of an irony in the fact that in curing a crisis which was cause by too much money pumped out, one of the cures turns out to have been spending more government money. But don’t you have to agree that that cure has turned out to be pretty effective? We haven’t had a second great depression, the financial crisis has more or less been resolved. Isn’t that better than having a total freezing of the financial system, which it looked as if we might face last fall?
Ron Paul: Not long term. What if it turns out that we’re in 1930 and we have another 15 years of problems ahead of us. So, no. I think we’re still kidding ourselves. They say the GDP is up, but they printed money and they spent the money and when government spends money the GDP goes up.
Chrystia Freeland: Isn’t that better than the alternative of the entire economy just screeching to a halt?
Ron Paul: No, it really isn’t. You have to bite the bullet, you have to admit the truth, you have to make the right corrections. We used to do this. We’ve never had a perfect system; there was always abuse of the gold standard, but when they got out of whack they allowed the correction to occur rather quickly. The best example is the depression of 1920 and 1921. It lasted about a year and people did go bankrupt and it was really tough, but it’s not even an historical event. It was the introduction by Hoover and Roosevelt that the politicians can’t have hands off; you have to, “now that you have this sophisticated Federal Reserve, we’ll never allow recessions to occur.” They took the recessions of the early 1930 and turned it into a depression. So though you can do it is better. It is kind of like getting somebody off drugs. What you’re talking about is you don’t want the withdrawal symptoms, and I admit there will be withdrawal symptoms. But, keeping them on the drug which is easy money, easy spending and huge deficits and all that, that will kill the patient. And the patient remains the dollar and we’re going to be on the verge of killing the patient and when you see gold up at $1100 an ounce, that is a little bit of a warning sign. That might only be the beginning of what we’re going to see.
Dylan Ratigan: But what if you just decided is that you didn’t care about the children? If you don’t care about children, isn’t it better just to ignore it? To heck with the kids, it’s easier for me to just print the money and go out to dinner, don’t you think?
Ron Paul: Well, yea. That is live high on the hog, and maybe the bankers won’t come and get us. But the bankers always come, and in this case it’s the market that is coming. When an individual lives beyond his or means, they must be forced to live below their means. When a country does it, they will be forced to live below their means. And I believe that the lowering of our standard of living actually has been going on for about ten years, because the good jobs have been disappearing. The standard of living isn’t really going up. So we’re holding back the correction and it doesn’t look so bad. So yeah, we didn’t crash into a depression but what we’re doing is preventing the good policies to come back which means free markets, sound money and limited government, balanced budgets. All these things are totally rejected here because this place in Washington DC is run by Keynesians. Keynesians leaning towards socialism now because we’re buying up the companies. No, it cannot solve our problems.
Dylan Ratigan: It’s also easier to print money. You will appreciate this story, Congressman Paul, and then I’m going to let you go. I was talking to a couple of bankers the other day as to why it is that they’re still trying to keep 80% of their swap market, which is the crooked insurance market, in private? And they said, “Well, because if we bring it into public then we’ll have to post collateral, and we don’t have any collateral”. And so it’s easier just to keep it in secret than to bring the entire credit default swap market into public and reveal that there is actually nothing there for the market that is 9 times the size of the global economy.
Ron Paul: But you haven’t learnt the language yet. They’re just illiquid, temporarily illiquid. But if you use ‘worthless’ instead of ‘illiquid’ then why should the taxpayer ever be stuck for something that is worthless, and that is what’s happening.
Dylan Ratigan: Well, listen, keep us posted. I think that the most interesting part in this context and the context of the conversation at MSNBC and the political context, because there is such self-evident aspect to this point is why are our politicians so hesitant to get their hands dirty and do the hard work, as troubling as it may be? And why do they continue to indulge the political expedience of money printing because it’s quite simply an easier road to take?
Ron Paul: I think you got it there.
Dylan Ratigan: Alright Congressman Paul, thank you. Keep us posted.