Mr. Chairman, today the Federal Reserve finds itself in an unprecedented and unenviable position. It has boosted the monetary base by nearly $1.5 trillion since September of 2008. Excess bank reserves remain at historically high levels, and the Fed's balance sheet has ballooned to over $2 trillion. If the Fed pulls this excess liquidity out of the system, it risks collapsing banks who rely on this newly created money to boost their balance sheets. However if the Fed fails to pull this excess liquidity out of the system we risk hyperinflation.
The Federal Reserve has never had such an inflated balance sheet, nor has it ever pumped up the monetary base by such a large amount. During the belt-tightening years of the late 1970s and early 1980s, both the balance sheet and the monetary base continued to expand during a severe recession. We have to look back to the 1920s and 1930s before we see the Fed lowering the monetary base, and even then the Fed lowered the base only by 16%. What we are talking about now is a 60% lowering of the monetary base in order to return to pre-crisis levels. That is a major decrease in the monetary base and, if it is undertaken once these excess reserves have begun to enter the system, it could undermine the viability of banks and lead to the collapse of the financial system that the Fed sought to avoid.
In order to have a clear and just conception of the nature and object of government, it is indispensable to understand correctly what that constitution or law of our nature is, in which government originates; or, to express it more fully and accurately — that law, without which government would not, and with which, it must necessarily exist. Without this, it is as impossible to lay any solid foundation for the science of government, as it would be to lay one for that of astronomy, without a like understanding of that constitution or law of the material world, according to which the several bodies composing the solar system mutually act on each other, and by which they are kept in their respective spheres. The first question, accordingly, to be considered is — What is that constitution or law of our nature, without which government would not exist, and with which its existence is necessary?