Just How Does the Federal Reserve Operate?

By: August 17, 2011

The other day a news report about dissent in the Federal Reserve system caught my attention. Three Regional Federal Reserve Bank Presidents questioned Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent decision to continue along the path of easy monetary policy. This was the first crack I’ve ever seen in the monolithic public face of the Federal Reserve, an important development in my eyes because the Federal Reserve is arguably a fourth branch of government,  with co-equal status to that of the President, the Congress, and the Supreme Court. It’s not in the Constitution that way, of course, but in practical terms it seems like a fourth branch.

Think about it. None of the three Constitutionally-established branches of government has institutional authority over the Federal Reserve Chairman. They can certainly suggest policies and actions to him, but beyond that, they are powerless to influence his decisions.

Do American citizens, voters, and taxpayers really understand how the Federal Reserve operates and how it is governed ?

Probably not.

The Federal Reserve system  is a complex central banking system for our nation  that has evolved for well over 100 years. That evolution has included changes in the Federal Reserve system that were designed to correct problems that developed in previous economic crises.

We need to have a better understanding of how each Regional Federal Reserve Bank operates and its relationship to the Federal Reserve Chairman and the Board. Federal Reserve decisions affect very basic things, such as interest rates on consumer debt , the value of the dollar , and overall liquidity in our economy .

I would like to see a Voices of the Tea Party publish an e-book  that provides a basic primer for us “commoners” to read  about the Federal Reserve system and how it operates. An educated and informed citizenry can always facilitate more prudent policy decisions by government officials. And the mysterious entity that is the Federal Reserve is something we all need to know more about.

Quincy Williams is a tea party supporter who works for local government in a blue state.

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