Friday Flashback: A Free Banker's Christmas Wish List

digital money, Christmas, monetary rule, primary dealer, NGD targeting, Selgin
Used with the permission of Gary Varvel and Creators Syndicate. All rights reserved.

digital money, Christmas, monetary rule, primary dealer(Originally appeared  December 21, 2014)

As is usual this time of year, my mom and brother, and a close friend or two, asked me to share with them some of the items I'd included in the list they assumed I'd already mailed to the North Pole, as I have done diligently every year since I first learned to spell "toy." In the past I've always been happy to indulge them, for my petitions to ol' St. Nick were, truth be told, long enough to raise the eyebrows of more than a few elves. "The man who has everything" described, not the man that I've been, but the one I've always aspired to be.

But this year that's all changed, thanks to my having traded my 2800 square-foot place in Athens for a DC condominium less than a quarter as big. Speaking of her similarly small apartment in Manhattan, Dorothy Parker once said that she just had room enough to lay her hat and…a few other things. My social life is a lot duller than Parker's was, so as far as my place is concerned "my hat" pretty much says it all.

So I faced the question: what should a man who has no room for anything ask for for Christmas? And that's when my bright idea came. Books, paintings, neckties, pottery — love them though I do, they all take up space. So, what do I love that doesn't? You guessed it: free banking! Instead of having Santa or my family and friends deliver stuff to me for which I haven't any room, why not have them deliver me, and everyone else for that matter (for here is a genuine public good if there ever was one), from something, to wit: our crummy, centralized monetary system!

Much as I'd like to take my leave from monetary tyranny lock, stock, and barrel, I don't want to burden my loved ones, or some elves, unnecessarily. So, at the risk of setting off another round of wailing by those hard-core libertarians who prefer uncompromising sloganeering to actual (but namby-pamby) change, I offer here a list of relatively modest requests, with the assurance that fulfillment of any one of them would make me as happy as any other present might — perhaps even happier than I was that first time I wrote to Santa, when he, generous fellow, interpreted "toy" to mean a Tiger Joe tank!


Dear Santa,

I've been a good boy this year, as usual. But this time, for Christmas, instead of more toys or other stuff, I'd like you to see about doing any or all of the following:

1.  Make the Fed follow a monetary rule. Any rule beats almost unlimited discretion, which is what we've got now, though a nominal spending growth rule would be best.

2.  Send the FOMC packing. It's simple: if you have a rule, you don't need them. All they can do is muck it up. Replace the FOMC with a computer that determines the open-market operations needed to implement the rule. Better still, develop a tamper-proof Bitcoin-style ("Bitdollar") protocol that implements the rule automatically.

3.  Abolish the Primary Dealer system: we don't need it any more than any other country does. Getting rid of primary dealers will also make it easier to

4.  End Too Big To Fail, which will in turn make it easier to

5.  End Fed discount-window lending, or at least "expansive" discount window lending.

6.  Consider making sure, while you're at it — and lest the Fed try more funny business — to close the "emergency lending" loophole.

7.  Since the Fed has no reason to keep an eye on banks that can't count on bailouts from it (and can't be counted on to keep an eye on them even when it does have a reason to do so), how's about getting it out of the bank supervision business altogether?

8.  Since these are all pretty tall orders, even for a fat fellow who manages somehow to clamber through who knows how many billions of chimneys in a single night, while you work on them perhaps you could get Congress to pass the Centennial Monetary Commission Act, so we can at least get them to start talking about these and other ideas for fixing the Fed.

9.  And finally, a real easy one for you: how's about sticking it to those zinc lobby liars by finally getting rid of all those stupid pennies?

10.  Oh wait, I almost forgot my most important wish of all, which is that you please see to it that all my pals, and all readers of this blog (including those who don't care a whit for me or my ideas) have a very