“Looks Like Magic” – Ron Paul on the Fed’s Money Machine

Congressman Ron Paul questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke at the Joint Economic Committee hearing “The Economic Outlook”. Topics of discussion included debt monetization, the Greece bailout, and where all that money is coming from.

Event: Joint Economic Committee Hearing
Date: 4/15/2010


Ron Paul: Thank you, Madam Chairman. And welcome, Chairman Bernanke. I want to make a brief comment and then I want to ask you a question about the IMF. My brief comment is a comment about the answer you gave Mr. Brady about monetizing debt. Because you balance sheet remains relatively stable with treasury bills, it doesn’t mean the Fed can’t monetize debt.

You mentioned in your statement that you bought mortgage-backed securities and agency debt, and that’s over $1.3 trillion. Well, where did you get the money? You created this money. So you did monetize debt, and that went into the banking system. The banking system can buy treasury bills and they can borrow money at 0% and that’s why they’re making a lot of money right now because they can buy other debt and make little bit more.

And it looks like magic, except for the people who’re losing their mortgages, losing their houses right now. But one other quick question is: the thousand examiners that you are training, are any of those new or are these people already on the payroll?

Ben Bernanke: On the payroll, and they include both Federal Reserve and state examiners.

Ron Paul: Okay. Because my comment there is probably 10,000 won’t do much good. Because it isn’t a lack of examination if you don’t deal with the problem, and the problem really comes from a monetary policy of low interest rates. As long as low interest rates rig the market and gives bad information to the investor, all the examiners in the world can’t compensate for this.

This whole idea that capital can come from a printing press rather than savings, I still have a terrible time trying to understand how an economy can thrive on that, because it rejects every notion of free-market capitalism.

But the question I have on the IMF is, this week the IMF has announced that they are going to open up a new arrangement to borrow or expand. There is a commitment of $50 billion, that is now going to go up to around $560 billion. And it coincides with the crisis going on in Greece in Europe and how they’re going to be bailed out. The irony of this promise is that in the new arrangement, this increase, Greece is going to put $2.5 billion in there. I think that’s [something that] only a fiat monetary system worldwide could come up with and have Greece help bailout Greece, and be prepared to bail out even other countries.

But we’re going to go from $10 billion up to $105 billion. So that’s a $105 billion we’re going to commit to bailing out the various countries of the world, and who knows what. But I think this does two things and I want to get your comments on this. 1) Why does it coincide with Greece, what are they anticipating, why do they need $560 billion? Do we have a lot more trouble? And 2) When it comes to that time where we have to make this commitment, who pays for this? Where does it come from? Will this all come out of the printing press once again? And we are expected to bail out the world? Are you in favor of this increase in the IMF funding and our additional commitment to a $105 billion?

Ben Bernanke: Well, the source of this was going back in the G20 meetings in the crisis. And I think one of the agreements that the G20 leaders came up with was sort of a mutual commitment to put more money into the IMF as a way of addressing the financial crisis around the world, and that’s why it happened. The Federal Reserve wasn’t involved in those meetings. So that was before Greece. If money is put out to any country, it will be done first of all with specific approval from the executive board which includes, of course, the U.S. in a veto position, and with conditionality that this country has to meet certain conditions. So it’s the G20 leadership apparently that has agreed that this is a way to provide credit to avoid fiscal or exchange rate crises in countries around the world.

Ron Paul: But do you think this is a good idea? Do you agree that we should make this commitment?

Ben Bernanke: I think in general that having the IMF available to try to avoid crises is a good idea, yes.

Ron Paul: Again, where will the money come from? This is our problem in this country. We’re bankrupt, too. And also, along this line, do you feel like if you go along with this commitment, what are we going to do when a state gets under the gun, like California and others? I mean, they’re approaching the state that Greece is in. We can’t turn down California. I mean, if we can bailout all these banks and they get off the hook and now they’re making billions and their executive officers are cleaning up, do you think we would ever turn down California or any other state that gets in the same situation?

Ben Bernanke: Well, that’s Congress’s decision.

Ron Paul: You’ve bailed out a lot of people from the IMF. You have the capability of buying up some debt and doing all these kinds of things. We can’t even audit you to find out what you do. So you can do anything you want, and you can create as much money as you want.

Ben Bernanke: You can see any transaction or loan we make, we’re happy to provide that information to you. And we’re not involved with lending to the IMF. The IMF is a separate institution which has American executives; part of the executive board.

Ron Paul: Where would the money come from?

Ben Bernanke: It’s a loan, but it would come from the U.S. government.

Ron Paul: Eventually we would create it out of thin air. Because we don’t have any money.

Ben Bernanke: Well, it’s a loan. If it’s not paid back, then we would take our share of the loss.

Ron Paul: I yield back.


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  • vince

    Since the fed has been instituted in America everything has gone down! Anybody who found out the truth about these criminals and tried to change the system has been shot down!!! Thank god for a man of Ron Paul’s character who is brave and willing to go up against these low self esteem, lesser, inferior, and tyrannical criminals that sell their souls to the dollar bill they create out of thin air like they are gods!!! These criminals are responsible for corrupting America and the world, because people have taken on the ways of their oppressors. These criminals have the blood of millions of people on their hands and they will have a lot to answer for when it is judgment day!! I will not sell my soul for the dollar, nor will I live under tyranny!! If the people of this country were to become educated on what is really going on today, there would be a revolution by tomorrow!!! We need to take the power of creating money out of these scums’s hand and put it back into the hands of the people whom it rightfully belongs!!

  • Yo Massuh

    How does it feel to sell your ass to the state?

    And now you are selling your children, and theirs, to that same leviathan.

  • JimInZelie

    As always, Helicopter Ben never acknowledges that the paper tickets sent to the IMF are created from thin air. In his mind it is a loan, as if more fiat currency from debt can resolve the insolvency of the financial system. This will not end well. In the meantime, anyone that understands what is happening can accumulate food and real money at suppressed prices.

  • gawilson

    Ron Paul for President

  • G Wilson

    Thank God for Ron Paul.

  • SS

    Now we know the truth. The financial meltdown wasn’t a mistake – it was a con


  • Dwight R. Kothmann

    I purchased a copy of THE CREATURE FROM JEKYLL ISLAND. It explains what the federal reserve was created for and by whom. It is scary to say the least. If at all possible purchase, steal, borrow, or beg a copy and read it carefully. By page 29 of 591 pages your knowledge of our currency is greatly increased, by page 237 one will realize action is necessary to bring our currency under constitutional law. I thank Dr. Paul for his unwavering focus regarding the manipulation of currency, without sound currency you can expect your living conditions to become on par with haiti, its just a matter of time. We old guys are going away soon, I should hope the next generation will do better than we did. We worked, we trusted, we were taxed, and lied to. Stand up! Shoulder up, their just criminals, take them out and educate yourselves. The public detention schools will not educate you or your children about the founders of this country, or the currency and the running of the financial system.

    • Lindsey

      Dwight: Interesting book, isn’t it?

  • That is a great first step that Dr. Paul is doing with 316 other representatives from both parties and 32 senators jumping on board. & Mr. Obama should signed it, which he probably isn’t because he’s defneding his friends in the fed.

  • ULO

    I loved the answer Ben was stuck with when asked where the money would come from. I always thought I loaned things that came into my possession. Is Mr. Bernanke insinuating that the act of loaning something causes it to exist in your possession?

    This is the most ineffectual weaseling attempt I’ve heard so far. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that logic from someone above the age of ten before. Good work Dr. Paul, the persistance is making an increasing differance.

    • Fred the Protectionist

      Yes I agree, usury is bad.

  • Libertarian777

    Ron Paul hit the nail on the head with this one.

    Bernake stated it would ‘come from the US Government’.

    However he neglects to say the US government cannot ‘create’ money, it has to tax or borrow to get this money.

    Since they (Congress) have not stated “there will be a 0.5% income tax for the IMF funding”, it will have to come from borrowings.

    The Federal Reserve is buying the pink treasury slips… with green slips of paper, known as US $.

    Where does the green piece of paper come from?

    The Fed prints it out of thin air. (It’s funny to think about the supplier of ink and paper to the Fed reserve, they send pieces of white paper to the Fed, the Fed prints some green writing on it, and gives some of it back to the supplier of the white paper. I wish I had a company that worked like that. My suppliers give me 100 screws, I paint 10 of them green and give them back, and I get to keep the other 90, but our debt’s settled).

    Inevitably all forms of government spending comes down to a tax to fund it. Either they directly tax us (income tax, consumption tax etc.) or indirectly tax us (inflate the money supply). ALL government borrowings will have to be repaid, either with devalued dollars (but again through taxes) or via direct taxes (90% income tax anyone?).

    However since the game’s gone on so long, Congress doesnt’ mind kicking that can down the road to the next Congress. Their constituents are happy, for now, that they get their special interest group/ pork barrel funding, and when the pied piper comes asking for payment, they’ll be retired with lifetime pension and healthcare so why do they care?

    • Patriotches

      Actually, the Fed gets around having to pay the paper and ink manufacturer these days by making all money “electronic”. That way they don’t have to give them back 10% of the screws painted green. Instead we ALL get screwed.

      • fred the protectionist

        Actually the US Treasury prints money, not the FED. Just a little heads up, wierdo.

  • Fred the Protectionist

    Nobody, outside your clique, cares about the Federal Reserve.

    • Lindsey

      Fred: If what you say is true, why are there over 300 House Reps supporting the Audit the Fed bill? Ron must be the head of a rather large clique!

      • Fred the Protectionist

        There are not 300 House Reps calling for the end of the Fed and a return to currency anarchy.

        • Libertarian777

          you’re right… there aren’t 300 house reps..

          there’s 317 house reps and 32 senators co-sponsoring HR1207 and S604 to audit the fed

          As Ron Paul stated… auditing the Fed is only the first step

          • Fred the Protectionist

            No “auditing the Fed” is not the first step.

            When people said that “gay rights” would inevitably lead to people marrying their horses, incrimentalism, I think they were talking about Libertarians not Liberals.

            Just like “gay rights” and “auditing the fed”, nobody really wanted people to be able to “marry their horses” or “end the fed”. Except the Libertarians, their real goal isn’t “auditing the fed” or “gay rights”, their real goal is “marrying horses” and “end the fed”.

          • SS

            Freddie is Funny

          • Lindsey

            Fred: Do you work for the Fed?

        • Lindsey

          Fred: After the results of the audit these 300 plus will certainly want the end of the Fed.

        • 1111cb

          Fred the protectionist

          please explain what you mean

          • SS

            good luck

          • fred the protectionist

            “please explain what you mean”

            Democrats are playing the populist game with this Audit the FED bill, and Ron Paul is being taken for a ride on the Democratic Train which goes nowhere.

            The bill is an AUDIT not a GET RID OF FED bill.

  • I was so proud of you in the race against Obama. We hold alot of the same values.
    Keep fighting the good fight. The truth will have to win in the long run

  • Ray

    Stay after Bernanke and Congress Mr Paul.
    You have the support of the American people. Mr Bernanke has that look of being a weasel with nothing intelligent to say. His lack of direct answers to your direct questions is certainly hitting home with Americans. Let’s unravel the fabric of socialism that our one world elitist congress has been sewing since the great depression. (And mr bernanke….Sit Up Straight when Mr Paul addresses you Boy).

  • Citizen

    Congressman Paul keeps the pressure on!

    Few Americans can comprehend this Moral Hazard, this level of Monetary Fraud and theft of our personal savings and national wealth.

    Ben isn’t printing money anymore, now we simply send electronic Cyber Cash “magic money” to Greece and who knows who else.

    As long as the Fed Reserve runs our Government it will continue to fleece US and impoverish our children’s future.

    Taxes are the least of our problem, End the Fed!!!