People are confused about the Fed, and I think it would be better if everybody had a clear understanding of what the Federal Reserve is and what it is not.
First of all, the Federal government thinks of the Federal Reserve as a service bureau, whose function it is to print money that the government can spend. As long as the Federal Reserve performs that function--reliably printing, let's say, a trillion or more each year to top off the Federal budget--then Congress will be happy with the Federal Reserve (their rainmaker) and will follow its advice and try to keep it happy.
It should be emphasized here that the whole Keynesian smokescreen and sideshow has very little to do with the reality of the relationship here. The Federal Reserve's job is not just to lend Uncle Sam some money during a recession so as to provide temporary stimulus. The Fed is a milk cow for Uncle Sam. Its job is to give milk all the time.
So to summarize this first point, the Fed is a service bureau for the Federal government whose job it is to provide the government with freshly printed fiat every year. This job has very little to do with the Keynesian prescription of how to deal with a recession.
The Fed is also a service bureau to the big banks that own it. Its job is to give unfair advantage to those banks, either by granting them low-interest loans that can be rolled over into infinity, or by buying their bad debts and disposing of them properly, or by doing any number of other special favors for them that increase their profits and executive bonuses. The Fed is not independent in the sense that it is self-governing. It must provide service to the banks who own it and to the Federal government, which controls its legal environment. Big banks have owned and controlled the Fed since its inception in 1913.
Summary: The Fed is also a service bureau to the big banks. It is not as independent as it proclaims itself to be; it provides services for its owners. Its owners have a profit motive. Read more >>