In a move vociferously opposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chief Ben Bernanke, a congressional panel has approved legislation requiring government audits of the Federal Reserve. The initiative is the brainchild of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, who corralled the bipartisan support of 309 representatives in the House. If passed in a final vote on December 1, it will be the first government audit of the central bank's 95-year-history. Here's who stands to win and who stands to lose:
- Ron Paul, writes a blogger at The Crossed Pond: "By any reckoning, an enormous success for Paul, wherein his not-mainstream view of the Fed nevertheless finds expression in a timely, common sense bill focused on accountability. This is exactly how you hope a guy like Paul winds up operating. Using his seat to launch broad swipes at the ideological underpinnings of everything, but also, occasionally, expressing that in good legislation that seems obvious but never would have come from anybody but him."
- "An Unusual Coalition," notes Arthur Delaney at The Huffington Post. Amazed by the diversity of personalities who successfully pushed the amendment through, Delaney ticks off a list including progressive economists Dean Baker and Rob Johnson; author Naomi Klein; the AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka; and of course, the staunch libertarian Ron Paul.
- The American People, writes John Nichols at The Nation: "This is about simple transparency, which everyone should favor... The amendment... would remove blanket restrictions on General Accounting Office audits of the Fed [and] allow auditing of every item on the Fed's balance sheet, including all credit facilities and all securities purchase programs."