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An article in the New York Times asked that since the Federal Reserve “failed to recognize the last bubble,… why should Congress, or anyone else, have faith that future Fed officials will recognize the next [one]?”
The roots of the present Great Recession stretch back to the bursting of the last bubble — the tech bubble — in the late 1990s. As the stock market declined sharply, the Fed under then-chairman Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates in an attempt to keep the economy from collapsing. The Times succinctly noted in its overview of the credit crisis that "lower interest rates make mortgage payments cheaper, and demand for homes began to rise, sending prices up. In addition, millions of homeowners took advantage of the rate drop to refinance their existing mortgages. As the industry ramped up, the quality of the mortgages went down."
The early warning signals were noted in 2005, and by 2006, delinquencies and defaults began to rise as homeowners found it increasingly difficult to sell their homes or refinance their mortgages.
Gary North, on his members’ only website, says,
Deception has always worked to the FED's advantage. It remained politically untouchable until Ron Paul got over 300 House members to co-sponsor a bill to audit the FED. At the heart of all central banking is deception. The central bank bails out the largest banks when their deception threatens their survival.
Once Congress is able to audit the Fed, the duplicity and deception will be exposed to the light of day. That will build pressure to abolish the Fed once and for all and restore the constitutional mandates about coin and currency to their rightful place.
Its duties today, according to official Federal Reserve documentation, fall into four general areas:
1. Conducting the nation's monetary policy by influencing monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates.
2. Supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation's banking and financial system, and protect the credit rights of consumers.
3. Maintaining stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets.
4. Providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation's payments system.
Credit expansion by the Federal Reserve orchestrates a boom. Abundant credit at artificially low rates of interest encourages more investment activity than can be carried through to completion. Entrepreneurs borrow the new money and buy resources. If the central bank had the power to print more resources too, the boom would be sustainable. But neither the Federal Reserve nor any other governmental institution has such powers. Hence, the boom is artificial and leads to a bust.