GOP leadership in the House of Representatives announced that legislation to thoroughly audit the secretive Federal Reserve, a wildly popular measure pushed by Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) for decades, will come up for a floor vote in July. Honest-money advocates and pro-transparency activists celebrated the news as a historic opportunity to rein in the central bank, which has come under heavy fire — especially in recent years — for debasing the U.S. dollar, manipulating markets, and showering big banks with trillions in bailouts.
The legislation, H.R. 459, already has over 225 co-sponsors in the House including an impressive roster of senior Democrats and Republicans, some of whom chair important committees. In the Senate, however, a similar bill has only about 20 co-sponsors so far, forcing Audit-the-Fed activists to wage a massive campaign aimed at exposing Senators who refuse to support transparency at the shadowy central bank.
Senate lawmakers are continuing investigations over the infamous prostitution scandal that implicated 12 Secret Service agents during a presidential assignment in Cartagena, Colombia. So far, eight Secret Service employees have lost their jobs, while the agency plans to permanently revoke the security clearance for one other employee.
Three top Obama administration officials — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey — told a Senate committee that the United States must ratify the Law of the Sea Treaty now.
The latest report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released on Tuesday said that if the country falls off the “fiscal cliff” — variously also called “taxmageddon” — it will likely enter a new recession. With the ending of the Bush-era tax cuts (essentially a gigantic tax increase on the wealthy), the termination of extended unemployment benefits, the reimposition of the payroll tax rates back up to 6.2 percent from the current 4.2 percent, and the “sequester” cuts in government spending demanded by the agreement that Congress hammered out last summer in order to raise the debt ceiling, the CBO predicts that the country’s Gross National Product (GNP) will go negative for at least two quarters, which is the classic definition of a recession.
Executive Orders to reduce regulatory burdens on the economy, such as the one issued last week by President Obama, are likely to have little if any effect. A better solution is for Congress, which created the monstrous regulatory state, and which still has the power to shut it down, to starve the agencies by failing to renew their requests for operating funds.