February 23, 2016   |   Claire Bernish
February 23, 2016
(ANTIMEDIA) An increasing number of politicians have joined the call for an audit of the Federal Reserve, including several presidential contenders — most surprisingly, Donald Trump.
Senator Rand Paul drove the recent push for the audit, following in the footsteps of his father, Representative Ron Paul, with a proposed bill that drew condemnation from corporations and the Obama administration, as well as anti-Wall Street Senator Elizabeth Warren. Though the bill was ultimately defeated in January in a close 53-44 vote, the proposition to audit the Fed increasingly garners widespread attention and support.
Though Senator Bernie Sanders, with his apparent populist, socialist platform, might not be such a surprising supporter of the proposal, billionaire mogul Donald Trump is. In a tweet on Monday, Trump asserted:
“It is so important to audit the Federal Reserve, and yet Ted Cruz missed the vote on the bill that would allow this to be done.”
Cruz had backed the bill, but failed to show up for the vote. Sanders, Rubio, and a bipartisan assortment of senators all voted in favor of it.
Questionable Fed policy decisions and the handling of the financial crisis of 2008, namely the multi-trillion dollar big bank bailout, are cited as major concerns by those who support both the audit and oversight of the notoriously secretive central bank. Fed officials ambiguously argue against legislative oversight, and Fed chair Janet Yellen claimed prior to the vote that Paul’s bill would “damage the economy.”
In a statement before Congress in 2015, Sanders questioned the lack of transparency from the Fed in its refusal to disclose which financial institutions had received trillions in “zero-interest, or near zero-interest loans” after the crisis, courtesy of the American taxpayers.
“This $2 trillion [recent estimates have placed the figure above $3 trillion] in zero- and near zero-interest loans does not belong to the Fed,” Sanders declared. “It belongs to the American people, and the American people have a right to know where trillions of … their taxpayer dollars are going.”
He added that tracking where the money wound up seems a reasonable request, and “is why millions of Americans — whether you’re conservative, whether you’re progressive, or whether you are in-between — have come together to say that we need transparency at the Fed.”
Though the Vermont senator favors an audit, Ron Paul previously criticized what he called Sanders’s efforts to “water down” previous legislation to initiate one in 2010.
Nevertheless, however strange it may seem to find Sanders and Trump — and even Rubio — siding with a movement begun in earnest by Ron Paul, the importance of an audit has become the one point where an unlikely amalgamation of individuals of widely varied political camps can agree.
Despite the bill’s failure last month, the push for an audit of the Federal Reserve continues undeterred. Borrowing a choice mantra of government, the Fed should have nothing to fear in transparency — if it has nothing to hide.
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