George Will has a great column in the Washington Post. He shreds Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA), who has introduced a bill that attacks discussion and debate inside the Federal Reserve — apparently because three Fed bank presidents recently had the good sense to oppose the Fed’s destructive policies.
Those destructive policies, including price-fixing borrowing costs through interest rate manipulations, are precisely the policies that Frank and other left-wingers in Congress like. Will writes:
Nowadays it is obligatory to present any proposal as a cure for the decline of comity in Washington. So Frank says that “until recently, the tenor of Federal Reserve deliberations was one that promoted consensus,” but now “the Federal Reserve has been affected by the disdain for consensus and the contentiousness that has affected our politics in general.
Note Frank’s insinuation: Any dissent from the policy he favors — he is not satisfied with 70 percent support in the August FOMC vote — constitutes “disdain for consensus” and unhealthy “contentiousness.” He says such dissent “has now become a significant constraint on national economic policymaking,” but is unpersuasive about how the constraining works: He says a 7-to-3 decision “is clearly less effective” influencing economic behavior than unanimity would be. Therefore, dissent must be discouraged as inimical to the national interest.
When Frank complains that the regional bank presidents are “neither elected nor appointed by officials who are themselves elected,” he is almost asserting what he is clearly implying — that the Fed itself should be tamer and more compliant to the political culture, at least when liberalism sets its tone. The 2010 elections cost Democrats their House majority and Frank his chairmanship of the Financial Services Committee. So his legislation is not an immediate threat to the Fed’s independence. Nevertheless, it is notable that the left now has its Ron Paul. Notable and, in a sense, appropriate because one of liberalism’s steady aims is to break more and more institutions to the saddle of centralized power.
Read the entire Will column here.