What do you know about the Federal Reserve?

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If I asked you to tell me what the Federal Reserve Bank is, what would you say? Like most consumers, would you say that it's the big bank our Federal government runs for us? Would you be shocked to hear that it's a private corporation that runs our money?

That's right. The Federal Reserve is a private entity that has been given its power by our federal government. And really, it has too much power. It issues currency and it oversees the banks around the country, supposedly ensuring that they're following the banking laws.

This kind of makes me want to start a company, include the word "federal" in the name, and hope consumers are silly enough to think that my company is run by our beloved federal government. How much easier could it get to swindle consumers who aren't educated about their government and financial matters?
Much of what the Fed does is secret. But what's not so secret is the fact that the Federal Reserve prints our money. Need more money to bail out big companies? Fire up the printing presses!!! Creating more money out of thin air is as bad as it sounds... it essentially lowers the value of the money you currently have in your pocket.

A few weeks ago, Congressman Ron Paul suggested that the Federal Reserve needed to be audited, and that citizens have the right to know exactly what the Fed is doing. It's wrong to have a private corporation with so much control over our economy, yet lack any substantive transparency. The people need to know what is really going on with our country's money.

Forensic accountant Tracy Coenen investigates corporate fraud and consumer scams, and is the author of Expert Fraud Investigation and Essentials of Corporate Fraud.
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