The Bane Of The Federal Reserve

Posted: May 04, 2021 9:19 AM
The Bane Of The Federal Reserve

Source: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The Federal Reserve was evaluated through a study completed in 2010, which illustrates that the economy has not been stable under the Federal Reserve since the pre-Fed era (prior to 1915). Economists George Selgin, William Lastrapes, and Lawrence White explain:

[A]lthough contractions were indeed somewhat more frequent before the Fed’s establishment than after World War II (though not, it bears noting, more frequent than in the full Federal Reserve sample period), they were also almost three months shorter on average, and no more severe.  Recoveries were also faster, with an average time from trough to previous peak of 7.7 months, as compared to 10.6 months….[another study] for 1796 to 1915, finds no discernible difference at all between the frequency and average duration of recessions after World War II and their frequency and average duration throughout the full National Banking era.  Besides suggesting that the NBER’s [National Bureau of Economic Research] recessions of 1869-70, 1887-88, 1890-91, and 1899-1900 should be reclassified as growth cycles (that is, periods of modest growth interrupting more pronounced expansions)…in distinguishing negative output growth from falling prices.  The change is most glaringly illustrated by the case of the recession of 1873….the 1873 recession lasted only two years, or just six months longer than the subprime contraction.[1]

Surprisingly not only has the economy not been in better shape since the establishment of the Federal Reserve – which is the foundational purpose of the Fed – but the discussion of industrial growth (expansion) and contraction (recession) is actually not derived from monetary policy; however, monetary policy certainly can have a substantial impact. The actual source of understanding should derive from the ever-expanding wisdom and experience of industry and business.

Industry and business, of the size and magnitude it became in the 20th century, had never existed before in the history of civilization. It had to undergo its ebbs and flows to learn how to adjust its function since nothing like this, let alone in a free-market, had ever existed.

Modern industry was at its birth (during the Industrial Revolution) and even today remains in its infancy. To believe we understand enough to control such an economy is ludicrous. The struggle to understand business is compounded with the belief that managing currency and capital is the source of wealth creation. While managing currency and capital is important to wealth creation, only the production of goods and services is wealth creation – with agriculture and industry at the center of it all.

Studies by economist Dr. Christina Romer show the impact of the Federal Reserve, whose charter it is to stabilize the economy, have not accomplished its goal; and, in fact, have had a negative impact on the economy. Dr. Romer shows that pre-WWI era of recessions were generally shorter than the post-WWII era.[2]  This is not acceptable economically, nor does it uphold our God-given Liberty.

[1] George Selgin, William D. Lastrapes, and Lawrence H. White, December 2010, “Has the Fed Been a Failure?” (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute), pp. 19-20.

[2] Christina D. Romer, Spring 1999, “Changes in Business Cycles: Evidence and Explanations,” Journal of Economic Perspectives, Vol. 13, No. 2, p. 29-33, see Tables 3, 4 and 5 for specific data and trends.