NYTimes.com A congressman from Texas, long a dissident critic of the Federal Reserve, is scheduled to become the chairman of a House panel with jurisdiction over the central bank. It promises to be a miserable time for the Fed chairman as he is peppered with hostile questions at oversight hearings and with legislation to force complete audits of Fed operations.
So it is now, with Representative Ron Paul about to take over as chairman of the Domestic Monetary Policy Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee. Mr. Paul campaigned against big banks, arguing that concentrated financial power goes hand in hand with concentrated political power.
If the Fed were abolished, he wrote last year, “the national wealth would no longer be hostage to the whims of a handful of appointed bureaucrats whose interests are equally divided between serving the banking cartel and serving the most powerful politicians in Washington.”
It is not hard to imagine Mr. Paul lecturing the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in a committee room: “You can absolutely veto everything the president does. You have the power to veto what the Congress does, and the fact is that you have done it. You are going too far.”
And so it was back in 1964, when that lecture was actually given by the then-new chairman of the House Banking Committee, a Texas congressman named Wright Patman. As Time magazine then wrote: “For three decades, Wright Patman has fumed and fussed that the Federal Reserve system is too secretive, too independent, too insensitive to the hopes of small borrowers. A sharecropper’s son, he often charges that it is a tool of Wall Street bankers.”…