I know Ron Paul isn't the most popular guy out there among some conservatives, and in a lot of ways rightly so. For the most part I reject Paul's isolationism in foreign policy. But this book really offers some interesting arguments into how the power of the Federal Reserve has created basically an artificial economy based on fait dollars, credit created out of thin air, and inflation. In a greater sense, the Fed has totally replaced Congress, the President, and the Treasury department in creating money, monetary policy, and wealth. Of course Congress, the President, and the Treasury answer to the voters.
The Fed doesn't.
Paul lays out a compelling and interesting case for ending the Fed and getting back to a dollar based on a gold standard. In effect, Paul argued that every boom and bust since 1971 has been because of the Fed and its unilateral policies of controlling interest rates on the whim of the chairman, fractional-reserve banking, and the basic ability to create money and credit at will with nothing backing it.
I'm no economist so I'm going to search for more to see what else is out there on this kind of thinking. But the most interesting argument is how the Fed, with its unlimited powers of money printing and credit making, has been the engine of the growth of government. Congressman can continue to spend America into oblivion because The Fed can just print more money and pump more credit into the system. It fuels spending, allows banks to be reckless in its lending because the big banks aren't allowed to fail. Sound familiar? The Fed, in Paul's argument, has created the ability of banks and huge companies to become too big to fail. This I believe to be true. The Fed is able to basically do whatever it wants with the money of the country because a) nobody in business wants to challenge them for fear of not getting bailed out, and b) because the Fed's inflationary money creating allows them to spend more for pork that constituents want and have no become accustomed too.
Paul's book is also interestingly very non-partisan. In fact, he seems to reach out to liberals has honest about wanting to fight the Fed, but breaks with them in the meaning of deflation. Paul does not believe government should be a welfare agency, and argues that the Fed's ability to print money with no oversight has helped fuel that. He also argues that this inflationary fiat dollar is what fuels wars because it allows countries to spend like crazy and not worry about how much a war will cost - something he has a point about.
I'm not sure what to think in total, but I find his argument against the Fed compelling. I inherently disagree with the idea that this much power should be in the hands of a secretive organization with no oversight. Congress and the Presidency have cowardly and lazily handed over monetary policy to the Fed, willing to just trust their Fedspeak. I recommend this whole-heartedly for an interesting dissertation in conservative, gold-based economics. Its also a good look in the real power in this country that knows no political party, and that in many ways we let partisanship get in the way of understanding where the real problems in our country are and where we are headed.