Wednesday, January 13, 2010

And So the Question Was Asked . . .

. . . by the Russian in the tight suit. His tie hung lose and what thinning hair remained was coiffed and slick. "Who has the power to audit the [Federal Reserve]?"

The question was one more suited for a class in money or banking, not a class focusing on the economics of a socialist state. The Professor thought quietly aloud. Raising his voice to stammer for a moment, only to recede back to its original pitch. He answered that the question would be as difficult as determining who oversaw the Bank of England.

In his thick accent, the Russian replied with a detailed explanation of the tiered regulatory agency who oversaw the Bank of England, and added that all nationally controlled financial institutions are subject to strict oversight from the government. And that since the Federal Reserve is a private institution, governed by its member banks, there is no one with the authority to audit one of the most integral components of the American economy. He continued, constantly asserting his foreign identity with the hard "YOUR," underlining that this is a problem our American value system has created.

I laughed to myself as he went on. Having to hold hand over mouth. Even if I had the guts to blurt out what I was thinking, this room wouldn't get it.

"In Soviet Russia, bank audits you."

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