But how much do we really know about what goes on inside the Fed? Even with the newest round of bailouts, journalists had difficulty determining where the money was coming from and where it was headed. From its founding in 1913, secrecy and inside deals have been part of the way the Fed works.
It says that its job is to keep inflation in check. But this is like the car industry claiming to control road congestion. The Fed might attempt to stop the effects of inflation, namely rising prices. But under the old definition of inflation—an artificial increase in the supply of money and credit—the reason for its existence is to generate more, not less.
The banking industry has always had trouble with the idea of a free market that provides opportunities for both profits and losses. The first part, the industry likes. The second is another matter. That is the reason for the constant drive in American history toward the centralization of money, a trend that not only benefits the largest banks with the most to lose from a sound-money system, but also the government, which is able to use an elastic system as an alternative form of revenue support.
Whenever instability turns up, we see efforts to socialize the losses, but rarely do people question the source of instability. Economist Jesús Huerta de Soto places the blame on the institution of fractional-reserve banking. This is the notion that depositors’ money in use as cash may also be loaned out for speculative projects, then re-deposited. The system works as long as people do not attempt to withdraw their money all at once. In the face of such a demand, banks turn to other banks to provide liquidity. But when the failure becomes system-wide, they turn to government.