The Federal Reserve System
(colloquially, "the Fed") has faced various criticisms since its conception in 1913. The system was created as a third attempt at central banking in the United States. The Federal Reserve Act
, which began the Fed, was a hotly debated issue in its own right, and passed primarily on party lines—and that was only after considerable political manipulation of Congressmen by Woodrow Wilson
The earliest debates on central banking in the United States centered on its constitutionality, private ownership, and the degree to which an economy should be centrally planned. Some of the most prominent early critics were Thomas Jefferson
, James Madison
, and Andrew Jackson
, although Madison ultimately renounced his earlier objections. As the effects of central banking, and the Federal Reserve System in particular, became more apparent, new criticisms began to emerge.
Criticisms of the Fed come from a variety of sources, ranging from conspiracy theorists to mainstream economists.
Intense criticism among the general public was a major feature of the 2010 midterm elections. Critics reached a wide audience that reacted against the Troubled Asset Relief Program
of 2008-9 and the bailout of major banks, insurance and mortgage companies, as well as the industrial companies General Motors
. Longtime critics of the Fed gained new audiences as New York Times
columnist Frank Rich
noted, "Ron Paul
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