Arnold Kling  

Barney Frank goes Jacksonian

Instructive Commentary... Rumor: Government to Buy Bad ...

The Wall Street Journal reports,

"No one in a democracy, unelected, should have $800 billion to spend as he sees fit," said Mr. Frank.

Andrew Jackson felt similarly, which is why he refused to renew the charter of the second Bank of the United States. The U.S. then went without a central bank for the rest of the 19th century.

I just get a chuckle hearing a Congressman complain about someone spending other people's money.

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CATEGORIES: Political Economy

COMMENTS (4 to date)
Paludicola writes:

Representative Frank did refer to no, "one, unlected," so he may still claim that some elected many may spend $800,000,000,000 dollars as they see fit in a Democracy with consistency. A mass that seems legitimate should, of course, exercise all and any powers that it fancies.

mjh writes:

Riiight. And just like the "Do Not Call" list, they exempt themselves. Just like it's bad to pester people with unsolicted calls (except for politicians) it's also bad to collect other people's money in one place (except if you're a politician).


mgunn writes:

In an interview on Charlie Rose, Frank did raise two interesting points. (1) Though Freddie was in trouble, it's not at all clear Fannie needed to be nationalized by the government in order to survive and (2) the Fed walking around and doing whatever it wants (including buying insurance companies) with its $800 billion is something to talk about.

It seems to me that the Fed has grabbed onto the "exigent circumstances" clause and is now doing whatever the hell it desires because it believes (probably correctly), that no one has the guts and standing to sue.

Is this really what Congress intended when it passed the federal reserve act... to allow the Fed and Treasury, by executive fiat, to nationalize all kinds of financial service companies!? It's certainly worth a discussion.

Anon writes:

Barney Fwank actually is quite libertarian when he chooses to be. He has spoken out ardently against regulation of the gambling industry and has sponsored a bill to reverse the online gambling act. Unfortunately, with this as an exception, he is not as good with economic issues.

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