The Federal Reserve plays a fundamental role in our economy. But many Americans loathe The Fed - furious that it bailed out banks and other huge financial firms during the 2008 financial crisis.
Our guest, Roger Lowenstein, is the author of "America's Bank - The Epic Struggle to Create The Federal Reserve." His book is a dramatic account of the chaotic years before The United States became the last major industrialized nation to form a central bank.
Our podcast features a lively discussion about American history as well as the present day, with Roger giving us insights that demystify the work of The Fed.
The job of the central bank is to ensure the smooth operation of the money supply, while keeping inflation and unemployment low. But there are many who are suspicious of the Fed's independence and want to bring it under the tight control of Congress.
According to opinion polls, only The IRS is a more unpopular government agency than the Federal Reserve. "You've got two candidates running for President - Rand Paul and Ted Cruz - who want to basically abolish The Fed," says Roger.
"Had the Fed failed to come in and be the lender of last resort and save the system (in 2008) I think the anger would be very understandable," Roger tells us. But in this case there was the equivalent of a big fire that nearly burned down the financial system, taking the economy with it.
"The fireman comes. He puts out the fire and people want to do away with the fire department."
Roger Lowenstein explains the need for The Federal Reserve and suggests how it could be less controversial in the future.