Audit the Fed! (Romney Working Hard for My Vote)

“There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions.So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’” – Luke 16:1-2

Bowing to pressure from the freedom-loving Tea Party, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is now calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve. The move will doubtless draw complaints from the well-heeled monied class, which plays both sides of the political spectrum in an effort to maintain their power. Regardless, I think it’s a big political winner for Romney. The country is still fairly populist, and complaints of “we need a strong and independent Fed” fall on deaf ears; drowned out by “we need to know what these guys are doing with our money.” In fact, I think Romney should make the audit of the Fed a centerpiece of the campaign.

While Ron Paul and I (and many, many others) would like to see the Fed abolished and a return to sound money, I suspect that the audit would have practically the same result. As soon as the American people see that the Federal Reserve has printed trillions of dollars and given them away to cover every imaginable bad loss in the banking system there will be fury and rage and a call for dramatic change.

The story actually provides an interesting correlation to the parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:1-14). There the steward was misbehaving with his master’s money (ahem). Then, when he faced an audit (a full accounting of his mismanagement) he knew the game was up. In response he started giving away his master’s money, selling outstanding debts at a significant price reduction. Why? Because he wanted someone to take him in when he was kicked out – and he had leverage available for a short time to create a place for himself with his new benefactors.

This is nothing new in American politics, of course. Highly placed defense department officials and military officers routinely leave to take high-paid positions with defense contractors (wonder why?). The Fed and Treasury on the other hand are nearly exclusively run by Goldman Sachs insiders. It’s a real head scratcher …

So Romney is working hard for my vote. I’m still listening. If he keeps talking like this we might be able to work something out.

I know there are Tea Party folks out there who are shocked that I still hold out as a “no” on Romney. They say “well it’s Romney or Obama … we really have no choice!” I disagree with this assessment. Yes, either Romney or Obama will win the next election and be president for the next four years. I hold, however, that this country needs conservative leadership, and it is not at all apparent that Romney over Obama moves us closer to that goal.

If Obama wins the presidency, there is a very real possibility of getting a more conservative candidate to win in 2016 – that’s 4 years away. If Romney wins he’ll be running again in 2016. The next “new” candidate from the right would be in 2020, but that’s unlikely. A Romney win in 2016 puts a more conservative candidate trying to win after 8 years of Republican rule – that’s a tough proposition. Further, a Romney loss in 2016 puts a conservative candidate in 2020 attempting to run against an incumbent Democrat whose  party has only held the White House for four years – always a tough proposition. Realistically the next good chance for conservative leadership is then 2024. That’s 12 years away.

To vote for Romney in that scenario is to absolutely “roll the dice” and hope he gives us something of substance, some measure of return to freedom. If he turns out to be another  Nixon or another Bush (either of them) that takes us away from freedom, that “sacrifices free market principles in order to save the free market,” then we’re all worse off and farther away from a true solution.

So I’m still listening, governor Romney. I’m still listening. Keep talking about auditing the Fed and I may come around.

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