Imagine that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was a corporation, with its shares owned by the nation's major pharmaceutical companies. How would you feel about the regulation of medications? Whose interests would this corporation be serving? Or suppose that major oil companies appointed a small committee to periodically announce the price of a barrel of crude in the United States. How would that impact you at the gasoline pump?
Such hypotheticals would strike the majority of Americans as completely absurd, but it's exactly how our banking system operates.
The Federal Reserve is literally owned by the nation's commercial banks, with a rotation of the regional Reserve Bank presidents constituting 5 of the 12 voting members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the body that sets targets for certain interest rates. The other 7 members of the FOMC are the D.C.-based Board of Governors—which includes the Fed chairperson, currently Janet Yellen—and are nominated by the President. The Fed serves its owners and patrons—the big banks and the federal government, while the rest of Americans get left behind.
The Federal Reserve has the ability to create legal tender through mere bookkeeping operations. By the simple act of buying, for example, $10 million worth of bonds, the Federal Reserve literally creates $10 million worth of money and adds it into the system. The seller's account goes up by $10 million once the Fed's monies are received. Nobody's account gets debited for $10 million. This is a tremendous amount of power for an institution to possess, and yet the Fed shrouds itself in secrecy and is accountable to no one.