The Fed and Iran

by B.J. Lawson

I hope you are enjoying a beautiful and bountiful summer. We’ve just finished up the political organizing season with an interesting NC GOP convention, and we’ve been taking some family time to get our personal house (well, gardens really) in order while preparing for what’s next.

There’s more to come on both of those fronts, but I wanted to drop a quick note on recent events with some good news. Just this week the Obama Administration presented its plans for (re)regulating the financial system, and Treasury Secretary Geithner was defending the proposal on Capitol Hill yesterday.

As you might imagine, educated observers are not impressed. Perhaps the greatest oxymoron is giving the Federal Reserve additional authority as a “systemic risk regulator,” despite its demonstrated incompetence in preventing, predicting, or even recognizing systemic risk of its own creation over the past two decades, culminating in our current crisis.

Despite the Fed’s performance as grounds for skepticism, I still run into people who are comfortable placing more trust and authority in our central bank. Apparently its placing $15 trillion of public funds at risk in one year (yes, that’s around our total GDP) isn’t reason enough to seek more fundamental reform. How can that be?

Helpful hint: when you find folks who articulately defend the status quo, and don’t think transparency and accountability need apply with money and banking, ask for their resumes. Chances are they have spent more time benefiting personally from the system than understanding and experiencing its undesirable side effects.

The good news, however, is that our fight for Federal Reserve accountability is bearing fruit. H.R. 1207, the Federal Reserve Transparency Act introduced by Rep. Ron Paul, now has 234 cosponsors — that’s a majority, with broad bipartisan support.

Given our recent success, it’s no surprise that the Federal Reserve is hiring veteran lobbyist Linda Robertson to represent its interests on Capitol Hill — the ultimate irony is that Ms. Robertson is best known for heading Enron’s lobbying office before its 2002 collapse. Clearly, hiring Enron’s former lobbyist means we’re making progress!

On another encouraging note, I hope you’ve been able to follow the revolution unfolding in Iran. Despite media restrictions, courageous Iranian citizens are documenting their growing uprising against tyranny via cellphones, video cameras, and intermittent Internet connections.

While it’s dangerous to draw conclusions from real-time blogs, cell phone videos, and Twitter, there are some encouraging signs. For example, we continue to see graphic videos of beatings and shootings by the private militia loyal to the current regime as they seek power through fear and intimidation. As the  crowds have swelled, however, some of these Basij militia are now covering their faces to avoid retaliation by protesters.

As our Independence Day approaches, I do hope our Supreme Court is watching the videos of home/dorm invasions, beatings, and killings by the Basij militia. As noted by Jews for the Preservation of Firearm Ownership, the purpose of our Second Amendment has never been clearer.

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