Is the Federal Reserve System part of the U.S. Government?Submitted by bobbyw24 on Mon, 05/17/2010 - 14:09
Is the Federal Reserve System a Governmental or a Privately controlled organization?
Students of our monetary system quickly encounter this important question, normally phrased as whether the Federal Reserve System is part of the U.S. Government or is a private organization. The importance people are placing on the answer is indicated by the over 36,000 web sites the question raises on internet search engines.
We’ll examine evidence in the Federal Reserve legislation; in how the Fed operates; from Congressional testimony; from statements from the Federal Reserve’s publications; in statements by former Chairmen of the House Banking Committee; and in official rulings by US courts, to show why we conclude that although there are some elements of ambiguity, the Federal Reserve system is essentially dominated and controlled by private financiers, not our government; and to the extent that there is ownership of it, it is entirely private. Therefore despite the ambiguity – and confusion - the Fed is more accurately seen as a private, not a governmental institution, though with substantial governmental ties.
The ambiguity arises from a combination of misleading appearances; the fact that our President appoints (with consent of the Senate) the Chairman of the Fed to four year terms, and the 5 member Board in Washington to 14 year terms; the fact that the Fed is supposed to promote governmental fiscal policy; and the fact that the system was originally set up in law by Congress in 1913 and can be altered, nationalized or even dismantled by Congress.
Most Americans understand that the Fed controls our money system, but they believe its part of our government, as would be expected of any organization holding that much power over the destiny of our country. Americans also erroneously believe the banking business consists of accepting deposits from clients and then re-loaning them to borrowers at a higher rate of interest. Though the number is definitely growing, most Americans have no idea that money (or more accurately interest bearing bank credits - purchasing media which serves as money) is created by the banking system when loans are made, through the fractional reserve provisions. This is understood by few novices, and often economists and even bankers fail to comprehend that they function as part of a money creation system, when they issue credits, and deposit them into their client’s accounts when loans are extended.
Therefore most Americans would be surprised to learn that almost all of what we use for money is not issued by our government, but by private banks. They have been “allowed” to form erroneous assumptions about our money and banking system that are far from reality and that serves to shield from closer scrutiny, whether the Fed is truly operating in the public interest or advancing more private agendas, either on purpose or by default.
Organization And Ownership:
The Federal Reserve consists of 12 regional Federal Reserve banks, with boards of Directors, under an umbrella direction of the 7 member Federal Reserve Board in Washington, with the power to determine major aspects of banking activity, such as setting interest rates, and the reserve and other operational requirements. There are no shares of the Washington Fed Board organization; the only “ownership” of the Fed is in shares of each of the 12 regional banks which are entirely owned by the private member banks within their respective districts, according to a formula based on their size (they must subscribe to the shares with 3% of their capital plus surplus). The ownership is highly restricted in that such ownership is mandatory; the shares can’t be sold; and they pay a guaranteed 6% annual dividend..
Thus the stories that the Federal Reserve is “owned” by foreign bankers (the Rothschild’s and other prominent banker names usually come up) are not accurate and these types of rumors have mainly served to discredit wholesome criticism of the banking system. While it is true that our first central bank, the First Bank of the United States, upon dissolution in 1811 was found to be three quarters owned by British and Dutch interests, that bank was structured simply as a private share company on the Bank of England model.* The control of the Federal Reserve System is more difficult to untangle and is not just a matter of counting shareholder votes. While foreign bankers might indirectly own shares of the regional Federal Reserve Banks through ownership of American banking companies, such ownership would be reported to the SEC if any entity held more than 5% of the American corporation. This however does not exclude strong, potentially undue foreign influence, for example through the Bank for International Settlements (BIS).
A “Non-Profit” Organization?