Tags: Wesbury | audit | Fed | Congress

First Trust's Wesbury: 'Don't Audit the Fed, Rein in the Overreach'

By    |   Friday, 06 March 2015 06:40 AM

Some Republicans in Congress are pushing for a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, but Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, says they're taking the wrong approach.

"An audit, unless the word is used in a very broad sense, would be redundant and basically irrelevant," he wrote in a commentary. "The Fed is already audited by Deloitte & Touche, and it releases an annual report that includes the auditor's opinion, each year."

So what should be done?

"What [the Fed] needs is more responsible and effective oversight from Congress, a smaller balance sheet and less ability to interfere with private business decisions," Wesbury argued.

The Fed's balance sheet has ballooned to $4.5 trillion through more than six years of quantitative easing. The constitution puts Congress in charge of overseeing monetary policy.

"Lest we forget, Congress already has oversight of the Fed, and the past six years happened under its watch. Only a few members of Congress have enough knowledge of monetary policy to be effective at oversight. The same is true of voters. The Fed typically wins political battles because most people find monetary policy boring, complicated and difficult to grasp," he noted.

"The easiest way out of this mess is for Congress to force the Fed to sell its assets and limit the Fed's power to bank oversight, not bank management and macro-prudential policy tools. Don't audit the Fed, don't create conspiracy theories, but rein in the overreach and force a smaller balance sheet," Wesbury added.

Former Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke agrees with Wesbury on the audit issue, but probably not on the reining in part. "We hold ourselves accountable pretty well," he said in panel discussion at the Brookings Institution Monday, Barron's reported.

The Fed publicizes its policies, goals and economic projections throughout the year, with the chairman appearing before Congress twice a year. "I don't think Congress has failed to make the Fed accountable on those grounds," Bernanke said.

Sen. Rand Paul's, R-Ky., "Audit the Fed" bill would have the Government Accountability Office assess Fed policy decisions and transactions with foreign banks. Another proposal would mandate that the Fed use mathematical rules — such as the Taylor Rule — to set policy.

Bernanke said the Fed already has enough rules. It is committed to a 2 percent inflation target, for example. "I don't think you can get much more precise than that," he quipped.

During financial and economic crises, the Fed needs freedom, Bernanke stated. In 2008, more rules "would have not been very helpful." The Fed provided massive stimulus then, with interest-rate cuts and quantitative easing.

© 2020 Newsmax Finance. All rights reserved.


   
1Like our page
2Share
StreetTalk
Some Republicans in Congress are pushing for a bill to audit the Federal Reserve, but Brian Wesbury, chief economist at First Trust Advisors, says they're taking the wrong approach.
Wesbury, audit, Fed, Congress
431
2015-40-06
Friday, 06 March 2015 06:40 AM
Newsmax Media, Inc.
 
Newsmax TV Live

Newsmax, Moneynews, Newsmax Health, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, and Newsmax World are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

NEWSMAX.COM
MONEYNEWS.COM
© Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved