Gone To Since 1984

And now, they're coming for your Social Security money - they want your fucking retirement money - they want it back - so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall Street. And you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Because they own this fucking place. It's a Big Club: and you're not in it.

George Carlin

  • July 5, 2011 11:19 am

    Dean Baker AND Ron Paul

    An interesting read in which Dean Baker agrees with Ron Paul’s idea:

    …the Fed has bought roughly $1.6 trillion in government bonds through its various quantitative easing programs over the last two and a half years. This money is part of the $14.3 trillion debt that is subject to the debt ceiling. However, the Fed is an agency of the government. Its assets are in fact assets of the government. Each year, the Fed refunds the interest earned on its assets in excess of the money needed to cover its operating expenses. Last year the Fed refunded almost $80 billion to the Treasury. In this sense, the bonds held by the Fed are literally money that the government owes to itself.

    Unlike the debt held by Social Security, the debt held by the Fed is not tied to any specific obligations. The bonds held by the Fed are assets of the Fed. It has no obligations that it must use these assets to meet. There is no one who loses their retirement income if the Fed doesn’t have its bonds. In fact, there is no direct loss of income to anyone associated with the Fed’s destruction of its bonds. This means that if Congress told the Fed to burn the bonds, it would in effect just be destroying a liability that the government had to itself, but it would still reduce the debt subject to the debt ceiling by $1.6 trillion. This would buy the country considerable breathing room before the debt ceiling had to be raised again. President Obama and the Republican congressional leadership could have close to two years to talk about potential spending cuts or tax increases. Maybe they could even talk a little about jobs.

    In addition, there’s a second reason why Representative Paul’s plan is such a good idea. As it stands now, the Fed plans to sell off its bond holdings over the next few years. This means that the interest paid on these bonds would go to banks, corporations, pension funds, and individual investors who purchase them from the Fed. In this case, the interest payments would be a burden to the Treasury since the Fed would no longer be collecting (and refunding) the interest.

    More detail at the link. I’m no economist, but it sounds like dodging the interest alone is worth doing in exchange for a fairly minor “bank tax” down the road as the reserve rate requirements would necessarily ratcheted up slightly to offset the eventual inflationary pressure caused by The Great Bond Shredding of ‘11.

    Were I Obama, I’d get out on the hustings this very second talking about how under no circumstances should the Fed order these bonds be destroyed. Go have lunch with Joe Biden. Come back out and say “well, it is with a heavy heart I have to bow to the demands of my GOP overlords. We shall shred the bonds effective immediately. Bipartisan!”

    After all, the only way to get something done in this government is for Obama to come out against it and wait for the GOP’s reflexive adoption of the opposite position no matter what the issue. That the Democratic leadership in DC haven’t yet figured this out is why they fail.