This post was originally published at the New York Sun.

The ancient Roman poet Juvenal posed the incisive question that must be applied to all structures of power and authority, “Sed quis custodiet ipsos custodes?”: “But who will guard the guardians?” Let us apply Juvenal’s question to the Federal Reserve.

The Federal Reserve is supposed to be, and supposes itself to be, a monetary, financial, and economic guardian of the nation. It also endlessly repeats that it ought to be “independent.” But if it is independent, who will guard the Fed? It should be the Congress, in line with the express provision of the Constitution that Congress has the responsibility to “coin Money, and regulate the Value thereof.”

Every economist with whom I have ever discussed this question immediately replies, “You certainly don’t want a bunch of politicians managing monetary policy!” They all assume that elected politicians will always impose an inflationary bias which the expert central bank will resist. Yet it was the Fed itself, without congressional approval, that unilaterally announced in 2012 that it was committing the nation to perpetual inflation and perpetual depreciation of its currency, at the rate of 2% a year. That means average prices quintuple in a lifetime—an odd interpretation of the Fed’s statutory mandate to pursue “stable prices.”

Read more at the New York Sun.

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