William (aka Bill the Godfather)

William (aka Bill the Godfather)

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Can Ron Paul crush the Federal Reserve?

Rep. Ron Paul's feelings about America's central bank are a matter of public record. An extensive public record: In dozens of congressional hearings over the past four decades, he has ribbed, cajoled, harassed, or annoyed any representative or defender of the Federal Reserve brave or unlucky enough to appear before him.

Normally, his interrogations concern America's profligate money printing, Congress' unnecessary spending, the Fed's secrecy, and, especially, gold, which he believes should underpin the currency to render it sound. But his distrust runs wide and deep. Consider this comment from a 2007 hearing: "This whole notion that a central bank somehow has the wisdom to know what interest rates should be is, to me, rather bizarre. And also the source of so much mischief."

That first sentence is a neat encapsulation of his economic worldview. And the second could well apply to Paul himself. His career in and out of public office has been devoted to two propositions: 1) The Fed is bad. 2) The gold standard is good. His consistency has been impressive—which is not to say he has been influential. He rarely gets satisfactory answers in hearings, and he'll probably never get satisfaction in his long, lonely crusade to radically alter America's monetary policy.

But if you tilt at windmills long enough, sometimes you hit. And on Wednesday, Paul did: He held his first-ever hearing as chairman of the House Financial Services Committee's subcommittee on monetary policy, inviting two Austrian-school economists and one lonely representative from the left-leaning Economic Policy Institute to debate how Fed policy affects the unemployment rate.

This may be Ron Paul's moment. The question now is what he does with it.
Read the rest here.

1 comment:

Visibilium said...

Where's Jerry O'Driscoll? He's certainly supplied a lot of good ink in the WSJ.