On Saturday, September 22, there are going to be protests outside every Federal Reserve bank in the country (details of the event are here). There will be streamed speeches from libertarian heavyweights Stefan Molyneux and Walter Block, music, and general opposition to the Fed, central banking, and fiat currency.
This is perhaps the single largest organized protest of the Fed in American history, and like the libertarianism behind this "Let Us Coin Together" event, it is decentralized and grassroots. And with Congressman Ron Paul's Audit the Fed bill passing in the House, Senator Harry Reid's blocking of the bill in the Senate, and the Fed's recent QE3 announcement, it couldn't have come at a better time.
The Federal Reserve is the key driver behind so many problems America faces. The Fed attempts to establish interest rates (the price of money) and regulate the money supply. But this is dangerous because a central bank lacks the profit-and-loss price mechanism of the market that is so essential to rational economic calculation and sends the wrong signals (prices) to the rest of the economy. Money, like any other good, is subject to the law of supply and demand, and only the coordination of the pricing mechanism can determine the right amount of money in the economy.
By allowing interest rates to be regulated by political consideration rather than the market, the Fed produces boom-and-bust cycles, not real growth. Capital comes not from a printing press, but from production and savings. From the extraction of raw materials to the purchase of the final product at the register, every step must pass the profit-and-loss test. This is how capital and real, steady economic growth, is created.
And beyond the nuts-and-bolts economic case against a monopoly cartel being in charge of half of every economic transaction in the country, the Fed is the greatest enabler of the growth of government power. When governments borrow money, interest rates go up. But because this is politically unpopular, the Fed is there to liquidate and mask this borrowing, further incentivizing governments to expand. Without the Fed as a backstop, governments would have to face up to reality and live within their means.
Governments (especially the Leviathan in D.C.) are then able to fund foreign wars, bailouts, and a massive welfare state without direct taxes, masking the cost of these actions by devaluing the dollar and giving the illusion of prosperity. Eventually, the middle class and poor are destroyed as wealth is funneled upwards to the politically-favored industries that receive the new paper money first.
This is why the issue of the Fed is much more important than who will occupy the White House next year. Whether President Obama is reelected or former Governor Romney wins, the Fed will continue to keep interest rates near zero until 2015 and buy up $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities a month for the unforeseeable future in a vain attempt to stimulate the economy and re-inflate a bubble.
Cartelization, corporatism, and pyramiding debt are the legacies of the Fed and other central banks, and thankfully more and more Americans are realizing this. If you happen to be near any of the cities holding anti-Fed protests this weekend (I will be in San Francisco!), I highly recommend going, learning, and experiencing what is undoubtedly just one more example of an intellectual, grassroots revolution brewing in America.