Romney’s call to audit the Federal Reserve, presumably including prompt publication of its deliberations, is a concession to far-right gadfly Ron Paul, and also a policy proposal that Obama ought to endorse. Not that he will: the broad swath of the establishment is against it. That includes the whorish Glenn Hubbard, who is Mitt Romney’s economic adviser, and extends to the cautious mainstream of the Democrats from which Obama springs.
And unfortunately, the president will not pay much of a price for not endorsing a Fed audit, since most people simply don’t understand the issue, and are not likely to do so — ever. They certainly will never understand it to the extent that they would be able to recognize the fact that creepy figures like Ron Paul and Jim DeMint — and now the Romney-Ryan campaign — all support a Fed audit for the wrong reasons. Romney, while supporting an audit, also endorses the broad establishment consensus that the Fed should be free of “political interference,” as if domination by a handful of bankers and their operatives is somehow “not political.”
And make no mistake: the far right’s beef with the Fed is that they are insufficiently sadistic in punishing the working people of the country. In fact, Paul Ryan has previously endorsed proposals to remove from the Fed’s mission the mandate to combat unemployment: the Fed, in the teabaggers’ view, should focus on fighting inflation. Never mind that unemployment is stubbornly high while not only are interest rates low, but US Treasury bonds are so inexpensive to issue that at some points they are trading at effectively negative yields. No, say Paul Ryan and the teabaggers, best to combat “debasement” of the dollar and cut civilian government spending — with all the attendant pain involved — and risk another recession, all for the sake of punishing people for their undisciplined profligacy.
Of course, this is economic idiocy, even from the standpoint of running a functional capitalist system, which is why the Republicans’ Wall Street backers are experiencing trouble with the consequences of right-wing populism unleashed. The teabaggers, however, are backed not by the Wall Street mainstream, but by a tiny coterie of shriveled, geriatric billionaires with their own crackpot agenda (the Kochs, Adelson, Scaife, etc.), who are out of step with the Wall Street mainstream even though they share a common interest with them in defeating Obama. This is a fissure in the right-wing bloc that will become more visible if they win full power — hopefully something we’ll never see.
But what the establishment mainstream most fears about “political interference” with the central bank is of course not the sado-monetarism of the teabaggers, but the possibility that it could be subject to real popular control, and ultimately be used to initiate job-creating public projects that could “crowd out” profit-seeking private investors.
And that sounds like a good idea to me.