Most Americans (and people throughout the world) do not have much of an understanding of the Federal Reserve, if any at all. There is a much larger percentage who understand that the Fed does us harm than there were just 5 years ago. This is mainly due to Ron Paul and the internet. The economic fall of 2008 also helped, as more people became curious about the subject.
Still, not more than 10% of Americans have a good understanding of the damage that the Fed causes. On this subject, I would guess that even fewer people understand central banking throughout the world. Americans can make foreigners look ignorant on this subject, but it is all relative.
For those who do have a grasp of the damage done by the Fed, even some of these people do not understand the extent of it. Not only does the Fed (and its monopoly power over the money supply) cause prices to increase, it actually prevents prices from falling.
I know that many libertarians speak out against the CPI (consumer price index). They see it as a manipulated government statistic. In some ways, they are right. I do believe that the CPI can be somewhat useful in at least determining trends. But actually, the biggest failure of the CPI is that it hides the fact that prices would actually gradually decrease over time. This is the way it should be.
Think about the electronics industry. Think about computers, televisions, cell phones, cameras, etc. All of these things are cheaper now and yet the technology is exponentially better than just a few years ago. Compare this to the healthcare industry, which by no coincidence is heavily controlled by the government. Healthcare gets more and more expensive each year and the quality doesn't even improve much in some areas.
If there were no central bank with a monopoly over the money supply, or even if the Fed did exist but just kept a stable money supply, then prices for electronics would be even lower.
Over 10 years ago, I bought a Sony 27" television for about $400. The thing weighed about as much as a medium-sized 12 year old. The quality wasn't even that good, particularly for a Sony. I never liked the sound. Now I can buy a television for $400 that is bigger in screen size, much better quality, flat panel, and far lighter. But, here is the kicker. Not only can you get a better television for the same price, price inflation has gone up over 27% in the last decade, and that is just according to government statistics.
If there had been stable money just in the last decade, a 55" big screen television might cost only $400 now, if that.
I know some people will counter this by saying that inflation also raises our wages. But how much weight does this argument really carry now? In the last couple of years, wages have been stagnant in nominal terms, with unemployment having gone up. In real inflation-adjusted terms, wages have been going down. Wages are usually the last thing to go up in an inflationary environment.
For most people, their wages and benefits have not kept up with the price of healthcare and health insurance, food, gasoline, and other essentials. Inflation has been quite devastating, particularly to the poor and middle class. Government spending and monetary inflation are squarely to blame for the declining living standards of the American people.
If we could get a crystal ball to show how much better our lives would be without the Fed's monetary inflation, then there would be rioting in the streets. As more Americans learn the scam that is the central bank, we can hope that one day we will once again realize true peace and prosperity.