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Over the past several years, there has been a move to make college campuses an ideological bubble where only preferred and pre-approved perspectives are allowed, known as “safe spaces.” It seems this line of thinking is not only on college campuses as some of our politicians have been calling for that as well. Most recently, Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen openly suggested turning the Federal Reserve into a safe space.
For some context, Janet Yellen said this in response to growing calls that the Federal Reserve receive a full audit, which has never happened. Calls for a full audit of the federal reserve have been high with three quarters of Americans consistently supporting an audit and there has been a new push with the election of Donald Trump. When asked about her thoughts on an audit, Yellen stated, “Fed officials...need ‘a space where it can have honest deliberations’ without having the threat of political interference.”
As is stated on the Federal Reserve’s own website, “The Federal Reserve derives its authority from the Congress,” and “is an agency of the federal government.” It seems bizarre then that the institution has such little interest in oversight since it is supposed to be accountable to the federal government. The desire to keep it private then makes its mission and goals highly questionable.
Safe spaces on college campuses are bad enough so bringing them to the Federal Reserve would be catastrophic. Safe spaces on college campuses prevent hearing outside or differing ideas, which can lead to an insular mindset that makes acceptance of the real world and unpleasant realities hard to grasp. A study meanwhile found that it can lead to outright hostility towards different ways of thinking and groups deemed to be on the outside. This is not how any institution should ever be run.
Unfortunately, the Fed is an institution that could greatly benefit from outside thinking. Since the Federal Reserve’s inception, the value of the dollar has decreased by 95 percent. Meanwhile, it was found in an audit that the Federal Reserve had made $16 trillion in secret bailouts. For this and other reasons, the Fed is in clear need of review and reform so making it an insular “safe space” would be a serious mistake.
Fortunately, there is a remedy for this problem. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) have introduced the Federal Reserve Transparency Act to give more oversight of the Fed. If passed, it would have the Government Accountability Office complete a full audit of the US Federal Reserve in a single year. This is the perfect way to address the problems at the Fed and prevent it from becoming a protected bubble with no oversight.
The bill comes at a time when the Federal Reserve chairwoman seems to be taking a significant step in the wrong direction. Any institution from college campuses to major banks should be open to new ideas as well as introspection. Not doing so leads to a closed mind and destructive actions. Just like any institution, the Federal Reserve should be open to new ideas and never become a “safe space.”