Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fed as (is) a Criminal Organization

Via Looking in the Mirror

I often get very nasty letters that make my blood boil. I guess that is the price regular columnists of have to pay for contributing to this blog, since we all take rather unpopular positions on many issues. Often these letters are filled with nasty expletives, question my parentage, and much worse.

But rarely do I receive a letter that really infuriates me. The one below is entirely polite. There is not a slur in it. No questioning of my sanity, my morality, my ethnic or religious persuasion. There is no threat in it, implied or explicit. And yet this one is far worse than those others. I repeat it below, along with my response to it. See if it doesn’t enrage you too.

From: []
Sent: Saturday, January 21, 2012 2:28 PM
Subject: Federal Reserve Board Research Assistant Opportunities

Dear Professor Block:

I am writing to request your assistance in informing your department's students about Research Assistant (RA) positions at the Federal Reserve Board. Our positions are highly competitive; each year we hire approximately 20-30 recent undergraduates as RAs. While at the Board, RAs work on a broad range of topics and have the opportunity to increase their quantitative skills by working on both real-world policy issues and high-level research projects. After their time at the Board, many of our RAs move on to top graduate school programs.

Additionally, we offer summer internships for economics, mathematics, and finance students to work on advanced research projects with Board economists.

Thank you for supporting our program.

Dustin Rawlins

Dustin R. Rawlins
Research Recruiting Administrator
Division of Research and Statistics
Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System
Washington, DC 20551

Dear Mr. Rawlins:

I will indeed pass along your message to my students. I will do so, despite the fact that I think yours is a criminal organization, because, one, I owe it to my students to pass along information about all (presently) legal job openings and two, because I like to have my students make up their own minds about issues of this sort.

But when I do so in my next mailing to them, I will append a message of my own, alongside yours.

Here it is:

Dear Students:

I regard the Fed as a criminal organization, since it engages in (well, aids and abets) counterfeiting. The Fed is to the U.S. economy as was the old central planning apparatus of the late and non-lamented Soviet Union to the entire economy of the U.S.S.R.