The Status-Quo Caucus
by J. Andrew Zalucky
Take a look at the roll call from the recent vote on Ron Paul’s Bill to Audit the Federal Reserve. As you can see, 97 Democrats voted against the bill. Not only did the top ranking members vote against it, but so did many prominent members of the House Progressive Caucus. At a recent press conference, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) remarked that, while the Fed should be accountable, the process should not be “politicized”. But how could it not be? If the body that holds the Fed accountable is a political one, then what choice do we have? And why did so many members of the Progressive Caucus vote against the bill? According to their website, their number one promise is to fight for “economic justice and security for all”. Shouldn’t Liberals like Barney Frank (D-MA), who has worked with Ron Paul on Fed related issues, be the loudest advocates for this audit? Frank has stated his worries that the passage of the bill now will destabilize the economy. Due to its pertinence to monetary policy, this could very well be true. But in the absence of specifics, his remarks come across as little more than a dodge of the issue.
To be fair, many Progressives like Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) and Jim McGovern (D-MA) did vote for the bill, along with one of the Caucus’ co-chairs, Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ).
In any case, what if an audit actually found that the Fed made its decisions on monetary policy in good faith, without any unethical deals with firms like Goldman Sachs? While I doubt this is the case, I think it would be much better to know than to remain waltzing in the haze of ignorance. Economists have made compelling arguments for central banks to operate independent of the state, but that does not mean they should not be subject to regulation and oversight by those who serve the public interest.
I’ve attached Dennis Kucinich’s performance on the house floor above.