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Re: “Letters

Mr. Hammond, it only seems like we live in "a society that editorializes instead of reporting truth" if you only watch cable news. Diatribes about FOX vs MSNBC aside, the big secret of cable news is that is essentially only meta-journalism. The real reporting happens in print. If you want the facts sans editorializing, you have to read it. Some truly "balanced" reporting happens at, say, the Christian Science Monitor. Meanwhile check out the infinity of long-form pieces on health reform in various national magazines: the Atlantic, Harper's, the Economist, even the NY Review of Books had a great piece.

Don't expect any hyper-disinterested reporting (except maybe from the Monitor) but you will find some in-depth exploration of the truth, which isn't always an obvious, unequivocal thing. No one really knows what will happen.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by jenkin on 08/08/2012 at 9:46 AM

Re: “A victory for all the Paulians

Although gold is a comfortingly tangible, "real" thing, its capacity to represent exchange value is not. It has no inherent value--unless you really like shiny shit. In fact, historically speaking, the gold standard caused a lot more instability and unjust, arbitrary hardship than our current free-floating currency ever has (thus far, at least). The 19th century was punctuated by frequent panics and runs on banks (resulting from fractional-reserve banking), etc., leading up to the Panic of 1907 which ushered in the Federal Reserve System to prevent such a thing from every happening again. Basically, if it seems scary that our Federal Reserve currency is little more than smoke-and-mirrors, reliant on the faith of the populace to keep the entire assemblage in existence, the same is true--if not worse--for gold. With gold, when everyone panics and loses faith in the currency it backs, there is only a limited amount of gold to be snatched up by the arbitrarily fortunate--this is the very essence of injustice. Whereas with free-floating currency, the Fed has a lot of power to manipulate various things to keep everything circulating and functioning, until, hopefully, the panic passes.

Obviously this is a very vulnerable system, especially when it aggregates a huge, vague and vacuous system of securities, derivatives and other financial "innovations" onto itself. 2008 showed us that the collapse can be unimaginably total. This, however, is the truth of money, and of capital(ism), and of exchange value, however frightening it may seem. If we are, in fact, on the road to a sudden collapse--which we very well may be--it will not return us to some conservative, austere utopia of "real" currency. Instead it will force us to confront the nonexistence of the very thing that we thought drove centuries of capitalist progress--and to realize that we can organize human economies in radically different, more just ways.

1 like, 0 dislikes
Posted by jenkin on 07/26/2012 at 1:58 PM

Re: “A victory for all the Paulians

Here are the Federal Reserve's reasons for independence from the government:

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_bank#… "Advocates of central bank independence argue that a central bank which is too susceptible to political direction or pressure may encourage economic cycles ("boom and bust"), as politicians may be tempted to boost economic activity in advance of an election, to the detriment of the long-term health of the economy and the country. In this context, independence is usually defined as the central bank's operational and management independence from the government.

[...]

It is argued that an independent central bank can run a more credible monetary policy, making market expectations more responsive to signals from the central bank. Recently, both the Bank of England (1997) and the European Central Bank have been made independent and follow a set of published inflation targets so that markets know what to expect."

From the WSJ article: "The Fed is already reviewed by an outside, independent audit firm, whose examination of all Fed financials is published in the bank’s annual report. The Government Accountability Office also audits the Fed’s financials, including those of its monetary-policy operations, but it doesn’t evaluate the policy decisions behind them."

From the ABC article: ""This bill would ... jeopardize the Fed's independence by subjecting its decisions on interest rates and monetary policy to GAO audit," said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, a Democrat from Maryland. "I agree with Chairman Bernanke that congressional review of the Fed's monetary policy decisions would be a 'nightmare scenario,' especially judging by the track record of this Congress when it comes to governing effectively.""

Now there can be an actual debate, not just shallow statements of ideology. Ready, GO!

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by jenkin on 07/26/2012 at 12:08 PM

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