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You may, or may not, have heard of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC). It's the department within the Treasury that regulates and supervises our banks. Basically, their job is to keep banking safe for us.
You may or may not have heard of Saule Omarova, Biden's nominee to head the OCC. Well, you're about to…
Note, this isn't a "red scare." I don't care she was born in Kazakhstan, or that she attended Moscow State University on a Lenin Personal Academic Scholarship. Some of the most unshakable patriots I know are first-generation immigrants from dusty places like Algeria and Peru. No, this is about Omarova's terrible, awful, no-good bad ideas.
This month, Vanderbilt Law Review published a 69-page paper Omarova wrote outlining her ideas to "democratize money and finance the economy." From the paper's abstract:
The rest is just chock full of deeply unsettling ideas!
Here's one: In essence, she suggests the government eliminate private bank accounts and move everyone's money to their very own FedAccount at the Federal Reserve (the government's own bank). Apart from privacy concerns, this would make all of the money in your bank account, for all intents and purposes, the property of the state.
That would be bad.
Just imagine, for a moment, the IRS had not only your tax returns and receipts, but also your bank account number and routing number. And they were authorized to withdraw your estimated tax payments whenever they liked.
And if you think getting a bank error corrected is a hassle now? Just imagine the bureaucratic hoops you'd have to jump through to get a government bank error sorted out.
That specter of total financial control is grim, but it gets worse…
Let's say the Federal Reserve is wrestling with persistently-high inflation and can't figure out how to get it under control . In our world, the Fed would raise interest rates to discourage lending and slow down the velocity of money.
In Omarova's world, the Fed has another choice…
They could "confiscate deposits from these FedAccounts in order to tighten monetary policy" in "extreme and rare circumstances, when the Fed is unable to control inflation by raising interest rates."
Just imagine the press conference… "Well, inflation's out of control, so we're going to be taking all your money. We reckon that oughta fix it."
Now, here's what's even more interesting about this idea… According to my understanding of MMT , the government is supposed to remove "excess liquidity" from the economy through taxation. Well, taxation is a hard sell. Voters don't like it, which means politicians don't like it, which means our nation spends more than it makes year after year, running us ever-deeper into debt.
The thing about the Fed, though? No one votes for them. They're technocrats, appointed rather than elected, serving the government rather than American citizens. They're already making unpopular decisions by destroying our savings with 30-year record-high inflation.
Now they should have our ATM cards, too?
These are truly terrible ideas. Why would anyone ever advocate them?
If these ideas sound like radical "statism," it's because they are.
In general, when a government official is calling something "The People's", those people don't want the thing. They never asked for it. After all, North Korea's official state name is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Or the People's Republic of China, the Laos People's Democratic Republic, the People's Republic of Bangladesh -- none of them places you want to go on vacation.
And we know that human rights, let alone individual liberties, are an afterthought at best in places like that.
Look: Governments are after control more than anything else. And communism is a great way to get that control. For all the corporate crime that's happening in America, American citizens don't have to worry about the police bringing them in for questioning or labeling them as mentally ill for merely speaking out against the government. And that is why, given the choice, most choose capitalism over communism as the lesser of two evils.
The People's Ledger is an alarming manifesto, and it's clearly written by someone who embraces Lenin's and Stalin's interpretations of Marx's ideas. The "People's Ledger" is a blueprint for government seizure of complete economic control. They're anti-freedom, anti-liberty and anti-American.
These ideas being pushed by a government official candidate, during a time of unprecedented concerns over things like privacy and personal freedoms? It's beyond tone-deaf. It's either astonishing arrogance or utter idiocy.
I'm reminded of a moment during the Russian Revolution, after the Tsar's supporters (the White Army) evacuated the nation's gold reserves from St. Petersburg to a small town in central Russia. The Bolshevik Red Army, led by Lenin and Trotsky, then laid siege to the town. Both sides knew one thing:
I can't tell you how comforting it is, in times like this, to have a significant portion of my net worth in a decidedly non-digital, non-trackable, portable and liquid asset. Even though I seriously doubt the ideas of "The People's Ledger" could ever become law in the U.S. I take great comfort from my own little Fort Knox.
On the other hand, the Senate Banking Committee called Omarova's immigration to the U.S. a flight from communist repression. If her manifesto is implemented here, she might have to pick another country to flee to.