American Consequences - July 2021


can manage the fickle flame that is the Prometheus’ fire we call money. But anyone can read the Bible. Or take an econ class. God, like money, is an elaborate fiction meant to keep us in our place while striving to work toward some thing or serve some one . And both mind a ledger, keeping track of dollars and souls as humanity hums along. And now, the gods of the Fed are convincing us Americans that they know what’s best for us with an economic landscape bordering on Apocalypse Now . Pent-up demand is scorching a summer- spending surge. Oil may reach $100 a barrel by the fall. Bitcoin’s seeming inevitability but constant volatility and the proliferation of meme stocks muddy the markets. Meanwhile, our stimulus-injected economy has national debt eclipsing our GDP, while rising inflation and low interest rates warn of a potential crash by the end of 2021. But let’s go back. JEKYLL AND HYDE The conception of the Fed transpired in 1910 at the not-at-all-ominously-named Jekyll Island Club, a posh coastal Georgia resort. Who was in the room? Attendees included representatives for JPMorgan, Nelson Rockefeller’s grandfather, and economic luminaries of the time. The Internet would dub this an Illuminati meeting now – if you can imagine Warren Buffett, Mark

Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk all hopping on a call using the new video-chat platform Lucifer’s Plaything. These early-20th-century oligarchs convened in secrecy in the wake of the Panic of 1907 (it seems we’re always having these). They dreamt up a national central bank, imagining a beast that controlled the U.S.’s money and credit supply while offering a smash- in-case-of-emergency Hail Mary option for overleveraged, at-risk financial institutions. Now, in a Schoolhouse Rock sort of way, think of the Treasury as America’s accountant – making the Fed our national money manager (or investor). When they leverage national debt, it’s an expensive way of saying, “Yes, you can borrow that, Beijing.” But the Founders made no mention of a Federal Reserve. It’s a relatively recent invention, born out of crisis-induced reactionary measures. And the Fed always monopolizes the headlines when America’s financially hemorrhaging, be it with its big- bank bailout of 2008 or its post-pandemic printing press now. Fed officials had one pandemic chorus throughout the COVID economic dip (unlike the CDC’s back-and-forth). The Federal Reserve ensured full-on-liquidity- injecting mode until the health calamity passed us. Waiting until the crisis curdled into our collective traumatized consciousness, lost but not forgotten. Low interest rates. Stimulus checks for everyone. $120 billion in monthly bond-

American Consequences


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