The head of the US central bank said Saturday he was "concerned" by some congressional proposals aimed at regulating the US financial system that infringe upon the powers of the Federal Reserve.
"I am concerned, however, that a number of the legislative proposals being circulated would significantly reduce the capacity of the Federal Reserve to perform its core functions," Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wrote in an op-ed piece in The Washington Post.
He said some proposals considered by the US Senate as part of attempts to strengthen US government regulation of the financial sector would strip the Fed of all its bank regulatory powers.
He also noted that a House committee had recently voted to repeal a 1978 provision that was intended to protect monetary policy from short-term political influence.
"These measures are very much out of step with the global consensus on the appropriate role of central banks, and they would seriously impair the prospects for economic and financial stability in the United States," Bernanke wrote.
"The Fed played a major part in arresting the crisis, and we should be seeking to preserve, not degrade, the institution's ability to foster financial stability and to promote economic recovery without inflation," he stressed.
"Independent does not mean unaccountable. In its making of monetary policy, the Fed is highly transparent, providing detailed minutes of policy meetings and regular testimony before Congress, among other information," Bernanke argued. "Now more than ever, America needs a strong, nonpolitical and independent central bank with the tools to promote financial stability and to help steer our economy to recovery without inflation."
Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX), who has sought to audit the nation's largest bank for nearly 27 years, does not believe Bernanke's fears are substantiated.
"There is no reason why the world can't know, eventually, what the Fed is doing," he said recently.
His legislation, House Resolution 1207, cleared a key congressional panel on Nov. 19 by a vote of 43 to 26.
"[It] would require the Government Accountability Office to audit the central bank's interest rate policy, agreements with foreign governments, foreign central banks and the International Monetary Fund," according to MarketWatch. "It also would permit audits of a roughly $800 billion Fed mortgage-backed securities purchase program, which could grow to $1.25 trillion, Paul said."
This video is from Russia Today, broadcast Nov. 23, 2009.
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