Sunday, November 11, 2007

What I hope comes from the Ron Paul Candidacy

I sympathize with Ron Paul, but I do not wish to see him as the Republican nominee. The Ron Paul movement has a tendency to range off into conspiracy kook land (NAU anyone?). He himself gets hung up on the gold standard. But the movement is raising issues that conservatives and to a some extent the political system as a whole should have been raising since the end of the Cold War.

Here are a few important ones:

1. The proper role of government
2. Monetary policy (Paul gets hung up over the gold standard, but the role of the Fed and its lack of transparency should be a major issue)
3. Federalism -- on the GOP side at least people are seriously talking about federalism again.
4. Foreign policy -- for 45 years we had a foreign policy designed to fight the USSR. For 15 years since we have not really retooled that policy. Iraq is merely a symptom of a much larger policy failure. Why must the US be the enforcement arm of the UN? Why do we still maintain a large army in Europe? Why was Europe unable on its own to address the Balkan crisis of the late 1990s?

If nothing else, the Paul campaign should help restart the conversation about where the conservative movement and the GOP should go -- "compassionate conservatism" is not it.


Rhys said...

What do you mean "hung up on the gold standard"?

Right now our money is based on debt. All money has a 'back' since money represents wealth. Our dollar is backed by bonds. Our money is a form of credit. I would rather loan my representitaves gold than loan them my credit card, yet that is the difference. At least if the dollar is backed by gold, politicians cannot print more money when they spend more than they tax (aka run a deficit). Without a solid standard, you give politicians the ablity to hold office by borrowing your future earnings. That is called the national debt - which we pay taxes to maintain like a minimum balance on credit debt.

If you have some other suggestion as to how to limit government spending, I would be glad to entertain it. Until such time - I don't think you are informed enough about economics to debate the other side of the issue.

Anthony said...

I oppose the gold standard because I believe that currency should float freely against other currencies, with a minimum of government interference. The dollar has been overpriced for about 50 years, and it was time it came down. Such float would be difficult if currency is pegged to gold. Also, given that most money these days is electronic, I do not see how a new gold standard would work.

Further, the value of currency really only represents on paper (or electronically) the value of all of the goods and services provided by the economy, not merely the relative value of gold.

As for the Fed, while I would not quite abandon it, I think it should be more transparent. Right now, too much time and energy is wasted trying to figure out what the Fed is going to do on interest rates. Maybe Friedman was right; replace the Fed with a computer program.