Postal Banking

This essay, the first of a series on government efforts to bank the "unbanked," reviews the history of postal banking and its deleterious role in the Great Depression. Subsequent posts will discuss contemporary proposals for government involvement in retail banking, such as through the U.S. Postal Service…

The Fall 2020 issue of the Cato Journal covers several key topics in monetary policy: (1) the risk to the Federal Reserve's independence and credibility as it drifts into fiscal policy; (2) the effectiveness of negative interest rates as a tool of monetary policy; (3) the impact…

FDR and the value of the dollar.

"In 1934, the government price of gold was increased to $35 per ounce, effectively increasing the gold on the Federal Reserve's balance sheets by 69 percent. This increase in assets allowed the Federal Reserve to further inflate the money supply." ("FDR takes United States off gold standard,"…

FDRs fireside chat.

"The public plainly showed that it recovered from the fear and hysteria which characterized the last few days before the banking holiday was proclaimed." (The New York Times, March 14th, 1933.) During the opening days of March, 1933, the U.S. economy resembled a stricken body slowly bleeding…

Today, when we speak of ways to fight recessions, two options inevitably take pride of place: expansionary Fed policy (meaning lower interest rates or more asset purchases or both) and expansionary fiscal policy (more government spending or lower taxes or both). But if you've been keeping up…