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Today, in pursuing its employment mandate, the Fed has purchased more than $3 trillion worth of Treasury bonds, federal agency bonds, and federal agency mortgage-backed securities — its so-called “quantitative easing” strategy.

Its total balance sheet now stands at $4.1 trillion — four times larger than before the crisis. The Fed has also generated a staggering $2.4 trillion in excess reserves.

So why hasn’t this explosion in the monetary base ignited higher general price inflation?

In normal times, commercial banks convert excess reserves into new loans and investments, boosting the demand for goods and services.

However, in recent years, commercial banks have been reluctant to lend and invest, and so the Fed’s dramatic monetary expansion hasn’t increased aggregate demand to the levels we might have expected.

Indeed, despite the Fed’s “monetary morphine” stimulus to Wall Street, America is experiencing its weakest economic recovery of the postwar era.

Admittedly, quantitative easing and extraordinarily low interest rates have clearly boosted stock prices. The S&P 500 Total Return Index adjusted for inflation has more than doubled since the official end of the recession in June 2009.

America’s middle class hasn’t been as fortunate. Real disposable income per capita has increased by less than 4 percent. At this point in an average recovery, a family of four would have nearly $11,000 more to spend than the Obama recovery provided.

We don’t begrudge Wall Street’s success, but we do lament the fact that so many middle-class families on Main Street have been left behind.

While families’ net worth on paper looks much better today than it did in 2009, will the gains prove illusory? Is America headed for a major stock market correction, or perhaps even another crash? Will the fuel of excess reserves spark general price inflation?

Most importantly, what is the best role and rules for the Federal Reserve to ensure America remains the strongest economy on earth through the 21st century?

These are the thoughtful issues and long-term view the members of the Centennial Monetary Commission would address.

Both Republicans and Democrats have a common interest in getting monetary policy right. Good monetary policy provides the foundation for a strong economy that is essential to eliminating our fiscal deficit.

Given the centennial and the experience of the recent financial crisis, there has never been a more appropriate time to re-examine the Fed’s role in American life.

Sen. John Cornyn and Rep. Kevin Brady are Texas Republicans.