Lately I've noticed the competing critiques of the Federal Reserve, and how they do and don't match up. Almost everyone agrees that the Fed is not politically (or democratically) controlled to the correct degree, though there is no consensus as to whether there is too much politics or too little democracy.
One of the oddities of the Fed is that the term "the Fed" doesn't always seem to mean the same thing. Sometimes it means the Federal Reserve System, sometimes it means the Board of Governors, and I've often suspected that sometimes it means the Open Market Committee.
This of course provides fertile soil for confusion, and confusion in turn is fertile soil for conspiracy theories. Righty critics who loathe inflation can point out that "the Fed" consists entirely of political appointees. Lefty critics who hate interest can point out that "the Fed" is mostly private moneyed interests. "Private moneyed interests" is the lefty term for what the rightys call the free market; "political appointees" is the righty term for what the leftys call democracy.
Both sides are correct in pointing out that the public is largely ignorant of the important matters of monetary policy. From that it does not follow the critics are not themselves ignorant, or guilty of causing ignorance.
Here is a multipage article on the Federal Reserve which does not mention the Board of Governors a single time. Sort of like listing all the important people on a baseball time without mentioning the manager, or even noting that the job of manager exists.
Is that a surprise? It was to me, because I'm used to reading Austrian-school (anti-politics, anti-inflation) critiques of the monetary status quo. The linked article is quite the opposite - it is an anti-interest critique, and it wouldn't grind the proper axe to point out that the President's political appointees can effectively raise taxes at any time simply by expanding the money supply. The article also laments the lack of Congressional control, without noting of course that when the Presidential appointees forming a majority on the Open Market Committee vote to expand the money supply, it is Congress whose spending power increases.
What the article is essentially saying is that it would be better to have a system in which the entity that controls the money supply also benefits directly if the money supply expands drastically. While I hope it's clear that I don't agree, I am not sure that the entire slate of reforms the Austrian school proposes is necessary. I'm not sure why it is necessary to abolish the Fed entirely, instead of simply repealing the legal tender laws and banning government seizures of precious metals. It seems like that would provide quite enough "free banking" without eliminating the important networks maintained by the Federal Reserve System.