[Jim Grant is an old-school observer of this economic age and one of its most brilliant commentators. Following is the speech he gave in accepting the 2019 Bradley Prize, which recognizes those who have helped further the principles and institutions of American exceptionalism. RA]
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s a blemish on the age that so many of us know the name of the Federal Reserve chairman. In a better world, that government functionary would be as obscure as what’s-his-name, the home plate umpire who got no arguments calling balls and strikes at Yankee Stadium the other night. Who elected the Greenspans, Bernankes, and Powells to be the arbiters of interest rates, asset prices, the rate of inflation and who knows what else? It wasn’t Alexander Hamilton. Nor was it the Fed’s own founders. If the authors of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act could return to earth to inspect their handiwork, the shock might kill them all over again.