Cruz steps outside GOP orthodoxy with free-market criticism of Fed

For a Republican, Ted Cruz has a unique criticism of the Federal Reserve.

The conservative Texas senator and contender for the GOP presidential nomination argues that the central bank is responsible for causing the financial crisis and recession because it kept money too tight in 2008.

Cruz's criticism of the Fed is nearly the opposite of the one typically voiced by Republicans, who generally fault Chairwoman Janet Yellen and her predecessor Ben Bernanke for their efforts to ease money. GOP complaints about the Fed have grown since the central bank lowered interest rates to zero and started quantitative easing programs. Those measures were unprecedented in the Fed's history.

Yet Cruz's criticism of the Fed, while unheard of on the national political stage, is a sophisticated one, shared by some prominent and credible economists, including supply-siders, libertarians and even members of the Federal Reserve system.