Diary

Sanders versus Bernanke

I don’t side with Bernie Sanders very often, but Vermont’s favorite socialist son occasionally brightens our capitol with something surprising.

Early in March, the senator challenged Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke with an interesting question: “Will you tell the American people to whom you lent 2.2 trillion of their dollars?”

Bernanke then said that the Fed explains its policies online. Terms and collateral requirements, and so on.

But that didn’t answer the question, so the senator pushed on. And Bernanke, not being the Master of Obfuscation that former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan was, replied with an honest and unmistakable “No.”

He then went on to explain why he wouldn’t: It might “stigmatize” receiving banks, don’t you see.

Sanders mocked the answer. You see, he believes that the Fed should be transparent, especially regarding the current round of crisis loans.

I’m with him on this. I believe governments can only be truly republican — run by the public — when their operations are open for all to see. But there’s another reason: A transparent Fed would be a talked-about Fed. And the more people learn about the Fed, the more likely they will be to dissolve it.

America didn’t always have a national bank. And, like Tom Jefferson and Andy Jackson, I think we can do better without one at all.

We just need a good rule of law regarding money.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.