Politicians Pander to an Anti-Fed Public
In his book Liberalism, Ludwig von Mises wrote “The minority that desires to see its ideas strive by intellectual means to become the majority.”
In America today, there is probably no smaller – nor more vilified – minority group than those who genuinely desire to see America become a truly liberalized, capitalist society.
For this reason, while Wednesday’s Republican Presidential Debate was yet another pathetic display of would-be tyrants battling for the right to one day have their portrait recognized by school children – there was one line of questioning that should give fans of Ludwig von Mises reason for optimism.
Rick Santelli, one of the few reasonable anchors allowed on financial cable news, became the first debate moderator this year to ask any candidate about the Federal Reserve.
Though Texas Senator Ted Cruz began his answer talking about the need for “rules based monetary policy”, likely an allusion to the Taylor Rule that has become far too popular with mainstream Republicans, he finished strong talking about an interest in returning to a gold standard:
"I think the Fed should get out of the business of trying to juice our economy, and simply be focused on sound money and monetary stability, ideally tied to gold"
Perhaps less surprisingly, Senator Rand Paul also attacked the Federal Reserve for adding to income inequality by enriching investors at the expense of savers and the need to get the government out of fixing interest rates. While his sloppy, long-winded answer probably didn’t win over any skeptical supporters of his father’s past campaigns, it is certainly a step up from his days defending Milton Friedman on monetary policy.
Now does this mean that Americans who desire to see an end to our current PhD Standard should rally to wave the banner for either of these junior senators? Absolutely not. While there is no reason to believe either man has a genuine desire to go any further than auditing the Federal Reserve, what is important is that both men found the need to endorse anti-Fed views. They see the market for an anti-Fed candidate and want to be the ones to capitalize on the popular support that comes from that title.
In fact, Senator Cruz has gone even further than Senator Paul in desiring to demonstrate his Austrian credentials. In a recent interview he conducted with Liberty Conservatives, he not only described in detail the impact reading Ludwig von Mises’ Bureaucracy had on him, but even went out of his way to bring up Murray Rothbard!
And Cruz and Paul are not outliers.
The political appeal for advocating a return to sound money shouldn’t be surprising. After all, a poll conducted during the previous presidential campaign, a Rasmussen Reports poll found “remarkably high” support for the gold standard among Iowa Caucus goers:
“A majority (57 percent) of those surveyed are favorable to the United States returning to a gold standard and over one-quarter is ‘very’ favorable to the idea. Only 17 percent are unfavorable to this idea, which equates to a better than three-to-one favorability ratio."
With those numbers in mind, it is no wonder Newt Gingrich - who for all his sins, has never been accused of not being able to read a poll – voiced support for returning to the gold standard, while Michelle Bachmann famously proclaimed a fondness for reading Mises on the beach. It’s not quite the days of presidential candidates proclaiming their support for sound money on campaign posters – but it’s a step in the right direction.
A better future might not come from a ballot box, but it can be found in winning over the hearts and minds of the people themselves.
There is no greater legacy that Ron Paul left on the American electorate than bringing to light the dangers of our current monetary system and the need to end the Federal Reserve.
Last night was another reminder of the debt we owe to the retired OB/GYN from Lake Jackson, Texas.