THE FEDERAL Reserve Board's independence is a bit like the judiciary's independence. Absolutely vital for the institution's proper functioning, it nevertheless depends on Congress and the president to respect decisions with which they disagree. In such cases, the best protection for either the Supreme Court or the Fed is to stay strictly within its legally prescribed authority and to act according to principled criteria: legal ones for the justices, technical economic ones for the central bank.
Which brings us to the proposed Federal Reserve Transparency Act, sponsored by anti-Fed crusader Ron Paul (R-Tex.) in the House and socialist Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.) in the Senate. In the name of open government, it would subject the Fed's decisions to a full-blown audit by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Though the bill has attracted 276 co-sponsors in the House and 17 in the Senate, it is wrongheaded in the extreme. By opening up the Fed's most sensitive interest rate and credit policies to public second-guessing, the bill would create a risk -- real and perceived -- of monetary policy bent to suit congressional overseers. This would destroy financial markets' faith in the Fed and, by extension, the value of the U.S. dollar, just as surely as a political "audit" of the Supreme Court's deliberations would undercut public faith in the justice system.
-- This last sentence is rich like a frosted Sugar Cookie! Interestingly enough, these are the very problems we are having NOW with no audit of the Federal Reserve!?!