I met G Edward Griffin about six years ago. He’s a documentary film maker who wrote the book “The Creature From Jeckyll Island “ This book is a historical account of the formation of the federal reserve back in 1913 and the clandestine manner in which the Fed was conceived.
As real estate investors we hear reports about the Fed and how it influences so much of our investment environment. There is no shortage of people opinionated about the Fed. But how many truly understand the Fed and how it operates.
So when Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve during the financial crisis of 2008 and it aftermath wrote a book about the Fed and his personal perspective on the way in which the Fed plays a disproportionate role in influencing our economy, I just had to read it.
I also decided that I would share it with you. I’m not here to say that I endorse or promote everything that he has to say. But he has a perspective on the Fed that few others do and I feel strongly that something so vital to the underpinning of our financial system is worth understanding.
The book starts with a historic perspective from inception and how the role of the Fed has evolved over the years, through the Great Depression, two world wars, the entrenched inflation of the 1970’s and 1980’s, the financial crisis of 2008 and now most recently the pandemic and an unprecedented period of financial liquidity.
Fast forward to the pandemic, and it’s clear that the Fed didn’t have the tools to help the economy directly from the disruption of the pandemic and the lockdowns associated with it.
The tools employed by the Fed are new. Lowering interest rates would not put food on the table for those people who were forced to stay home for months during the period of social isolation.
Ben Bernanke was not at the helm during this momentous time. But he still has relationships with many of the people who continue to be directly involved in the decision making. He understands what rules needed to change in order to attempt bringing stability to the financial system. He is very quick to point out where the Fed has made mistakes in the past and made economic matters worse instead of better. His perspective is current to today’s dilemma of how to fight the inflation that has surfaced as a result of overshooting the stimulus initiated to fight the pandemic.
Host: Victor Menasce