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Audit the Fed: Who's the radical populist again? RON PAUL

I TEND to poke fun at people who call Obama administration initiatives "socialist", but the proposed amendment to have the Government Accountability Office audit the Federal Reserve was at least proposed by an actual socialist, Senator Bernie Sanders. What complicates the matter is that it was also supported, until Thursday, by Ron Paul, who is best described as a libertarian representative. What makes it even harder to label is that Mr Paul supported a more sweeping version of the amendment that would have given the GAO authority to keep looking into all the Fed's operations, all the time. The Obama administration opposed that amendment, saying it would create the impression of political interference in Fed monetary operations. When Mr Sanders compromised with the administration yesterday, agreeing to limit it to a one-time audit of the Fed's operations from December 2007 to now and to make monetary operations off-limits, Mr Paul said Mr Sanders had "sold out".

Bernie Sanders has sold out and sided with Chris Dodd to gut Audit the Fed in the Senate. His "compromise" is what the Adminstration and banking interests want: they'll allow the TARP and TALF to be audited, but no transparency of the FOMC, discount window operations or agreement with foreign central banks. We need to take aciton [sic] and stop this!

At this point my political compass is spinning wildly. Libertarian Republican gadfly Ron Paul is accusing socialist Senator Bernie Sanders, former mayor of the People's Republic of Burlington, of selling out to the banks. Mr Paul's other major anti-Fed ally is of course...left-liberal gadfly Alan Grayson.

At the level of congressional politics, what's going on here is pretty routine. Bernie Sanders has many criticisms of Federal Reserve policy, but he's not opposed to the existence of a central bank or to the principle of fiat money per se. But he needed allies to get a Fed audit on the agenda, and Ron Paul, who wants to audit the Fed because he doesn't think there should be a Fed, was an obvious ally. When it came down to it, however, Mr Sanders was willing to make compromises in order to get a one-time audit of Fed operations in the aftermath of the crisis, because he's a legislator who wanted to get something accomplished.


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