So much for the ongoing secrecy of the nation’s Independent Central Banking System. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 75% of Americans favor auditing the Federal Reserve and making the results available to the public.
Just nine percent (9%) of adults think that’s a bad idea and oppose it. Fifteen percent (15%) aren’t sure.
Over half the members of the House now support a bill giving the Government Accounting Office, Congress’ investigative agency, the authorization to audit the books of the Federal Reserve Board.
Support for the bill has grown now that the Obama administration is proposing to give the Fed greater economic regulatory powers. The Fed which sets U.S. monetary policy was created as an independent agency to keep it free of politically-motivated interference.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke in a town forum filmed on Sunday which is airing this week on PBS stations said he is strongly opposed to the audit legislation. “I don’t think the American people want Congress running monetary policy,” he said. Howard Rich addressed this issue in a recent commentary and concluded it was important to locate the “trillions of dollars” the Fed has spent over the last year-and-a-half.
The new survey finds that an overwhelming majority of Americans in every demographic category – including age, gender, political affiliation, race and income – disagree with Bernanke and favor auditing the Fed to make its secretive deliberations public.
Fifty-two percent (52%) of Americans support Bernanke’s efforts to speak out more publicly than his predecessors as Fed chairman, but his favorables have gone down over the past month. A plurality (41%) think the previous Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, did a better job, too.
While the president hopes to expand the Fed chairman’s regulatory controls, 46% of Americans say he already has too much power over the economy.
Fifty-one percent (51%) oppose expanding the Fed’s regulatory powers.
Despite Bernanke’s pledge that the Fed will keep interest rates and inflation down, 54% of Americans think interest rates will be higher a year from now, up 20 points from April.
Perhaps helping to drive the support for regularly auditing the Fed is the growing unpopularity of Obama’s economic initiatives to date. While the Fed is an independent agency, just 20% of Americans believe the Fed chairman is truly independent of the Obama administration. Sixty percent (60%) say his decision-making is influence by the president.