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The “People’s Fed” and the Oracles of Jackson Hole


The “People’s Fed” and the Oracles of Jackson Hole

Richard Eskow

When William Greider wrote his 1989 book about the Federal Reserve, it’s not hard to understand why he called it “Secrets of the Temple.” The Fed’s proclamations can make it seem as mysterious as the Oracle of Delphi. (To be fair, nobody has speculated that hallucinogens are involved, as seems to have been the case in Delphi.)


Within the naive 1913 objectives of the Fed, interest rates do need to creep up so that they may be lowered, if necessary. Isn't it ironic, don't you think? (Thanks Alanis)

Until the rules of financialization are rewritten to reflect Brooksley Born's concerns over derivatives, the economy will remain a house of cards.

Until the economy removes the externalities such as pollution and poverty, to name two, the planet will remain groaning under the facade of "fair" money.

Bernie was our best hope.


Breaking up the too big to fail banks (that controlled 25% of US bank assets when they crashed the economy in 2008 and will control 50% by inauguration day 2017) was high on Sanders' agenda. Neither Clinton or Trump have breaking up banks on their radar. Until the banks are broken up the Fed will become ever more the Wall Street advocate and ever more the Main Street enemy.


"We the people" are our best hope.
Jackson Hole is nothing more then a gathering of corporate plutocrats who do nothing without instruction from the oligarchy.


Richard Eskow's appeal for more accountability from the Fed seems right and reasonable, but how to go about it? The Fed is already somewhat political and accountable to the people's representatives. The President sets the direction of the Fed by nominating a like-minded Board of Governors, and by frequent consultation with the Chair. The nominations of Paul Volcker and Alan Greenspan brought about the austerity/trickle down hell we've been living under for almost four decades. Don't blame the Chairs alone...blame the Presidents who nominate them and used them as scapegoats for unpopular decisions. The Fed is also accountable to the legislative branch -- Right now there are only five members of the Fed's Board of Governors because the Senate is petulantly refusing to confirm two Obama nominees. The Board would probably be more responsive to Main Street concerns if the Senate would go ahead and approve the appointments. So while the structure of the Fed isn't perfect it doesn't work in a vacuum -- it's responsible to the people through their representatives. Under strong presidents like F.D.R. the Fed has proven invaluable in directing our economy. The problem I see in the current Fed is that our elected officials are astoundingly weak and unresponsive to their constituents.


Teton County, where Jackson Hole is situated, is the richest county in the nation. It's Dick Cheney territory, and home to an inordinately high number of the nation's most powerful movers and shakers. A person can be rich, but can't be part of the club without real connections to Jackson Hole. In the Old West, Jackson Hole was a notorious hideout for outlaws. Funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.


"Fortunately, there’s another option. The Fed could become a fully public entity, accountable only to the polity that created it."

"As long as the Fed’s organizational culture is dominated by the financial sector, it cannot reflect the American people’s needs, hopes and values."

Great idea, but how can it work when what is supposed to be public is private, controlled by the oligarchy through the politicians it owns?

Direct democracy


Just changing the Fed Board will not reform an Institution dedicated to the private banks who
actually run it. We need a truly public bank as Ellen Brown has eloquently described