Dig out the bell-bottoms and platform shoes. Suddenly, the '70s are in vogue. European fashion designers are creating clothing inspired by the period, according to The New Yorker.

And here in the nation's capital, lawmakers are creating policies with a 1970s' flair.

House Banking Committee Chairman Henry B. Gonzalez, to reign in the Federal Reserve that in part is identical to bills offered in 1974 and 1975 by the late Rep. Wright Patman of Texas.

And President-elect Bill Clinton's plan for an economic security council is remarkably similar to an idea of President Gerald Ford's.

Rep. Gonzalez wants the General Accounting Office, an arm of Congress, to audit all aspects of the Fed annually.

Rep. Patman's bill also called for full-scale audits of all Federal Reserve functions. The House Rules Committee killed it in 1975.

The year before that, the House passed the measure by 224 to 139, but only after adopting an amendment by Rep. Thomas Ludlow Ashley, D-Ohio, that precluded the GAO from examining monetary policy decisions. Mr. Ashley is now president of the Association of Bank Holding Companies.

The Senate simply ignored the 1974 legislation, over the protest of Sen. William Proxmire, D-Wis.) He noted that the Fed was the only important government agency not audited by the GAO.

Fed Chairman Arthur Burns vigorously fought the proposal.

The 1975 bill passed the House Banking Committee.

Legislative Intent

Opponents said that Congress had intended the Fed to be independent when it created the Federal Reserve System in 1921 and that annual audits would represent an intrusion.

L. William Seidman, the former chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and senior official in the Ford White House, said Mr. Clinton's plan for an economic security council sounded awfully familiar.

"The economic security council is essentially the same as the economic policy board we had in the Ford administration," he said.

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