It would seem that our leaders have not got the guts to do the job which we elected them to do.

With uncharacteristic bluntness, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke warned Congress on Wednesday that the United States could soon face a debt crisis like the one in Greece, and declared that the central bank will not help legislators by printing money to pay for the ballooning federal debt.

Recent events in Europe, where Greece and other nations with large, unsustainable deficits like the United States are having increasing trouble selling their debt to investors, show that the U.S. is vulnerable to a sudden reversal of fortunes that would force taxpayers to pay higher interest rates on the debt, Mr. Bernanke said. (continued here)

The Federal Reserve Bank has the jobs of keeping our currency and financial systems stable.

The Federal Reserve System is the central bank of the United States. It was founded by Congress in 1913 to provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.

Today, the Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas:

  • conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates
  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers
  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets
  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. government, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system

(from here)

One can argue with whether the Federal Reserve Bank is itself a good idea. To some, history suggests that Federal Reserve Bank has too often contributed to financial instability. Nonetheless, if we are going to have a Federal Reserve Bank, then it should be obvious to all that the Federal Reserve Bank should not become an enabler of our Congress’ spendthrift habits.

Why does our Congress spend too much? The problem is us. We ask our leaders to spend — in a good cause, of course. Here is an example. In Greater Prince William Community Health Center grows, adds services InsideNoVA.com tells us:

Those with little or no health insurance are much closer to haveing a one-stop shop for medical care.

The Greater Prince William Community Health Center now provides primary care to about 6,000 residents.

This week it added prenatal care and in April it will double the size of the facility—from 7,000 to 14,000 square feet—and add dental and mental health services. (continued here)

So what is the problem? In the same article it says that when the Prince William Board of County Supervisors found its budget too constrained, it stopped funding the health center. Unfortunately, even though it is deeply in the red, our Federal Government recognizes no apparent spending constraints.

 Organizers struggled but successfully kept the community health center running for another year, until the federal status was achieved with the help of U.S. Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-11th, in 2009. (from here)

Just because Connolly happily spends other people’s money does not make him a hero. However, it should not be doubted that the people who receive our money from him regard Connolly highly, but we cannot keep doing this sort of thing. The Constitution does not even give Congress the authority to give our money away this way. This behavior is lawless.

Our leaders have sworn an oath to obey constitutional limits on their authority. Our leaders also have a duty to set budget priorities, but they do neither of these things. Instead, until that money has no value,  they would rather just print money. If that sort of behavior is not evil, it is most certainly the height of irresponsibility. Without a trusted currency, our economy must crumble. If truck loads of money have no value, then government largess will be of no use.

There is another alternative. We can fund charity through our own efforts. In fact, we do, and here is an example.

More than 12,300 people in Prince William County are living at or below the poverty level, and Securing Emergency Resources through Volunteer Efforts Inc. needs votes to continue and expand care for the hungry.

Through its “Pepsi Refresh Project,” Pepsi is offering a $50,000 grant to the organization with a project voted “most popular.”

With the grant money, SERVE would purchase a new refrigerator/freezer unit and a new condenser for a broken unit.

The contest ends Sunday. Cast a vote by visiting the SERVE Web site at http://www.serveinc.org. (from here)


–Tom Salmon

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