Here Comes The Gold
Although RomneyRyan are faulting President Obama’s stewardship of the economy, the self-described “comeback team” doesn’t seem to have much interest in having the Fed help to grow the economy and generate full employment, which happens to be one of the institution’s two mandates.
Unemployment? Are there no workhouses?
Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is also reporting today that RomneyRyan would not re-appoint current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke when his current term expires in 2014. Ryan in particular is not a fan of the Fed Chairman or of the Fed generally. For it turns out that in addition to his anti-abortion zeolotry and his schemes to end Medicare and Social Security, and most aid to the poor, the VP nominee to be is also apparently a gold-bug, thanks to his Ayn Rand-idolatry. Krugman notes today in the NYT:
But wait, there’s more: ‘Atlas Shrugged’ apparently shaped Mr. Ryan’s views on monetary policy, views that he clings to despite having been repeatedly, completely wrong in his predictions.
In early 2011, Mr. Ryan, newly installed as the chairman of the House Budget Committee, gave Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, a hard time over his expansionary policies. Rising commodity prices and long-term interest rates, he asserted, were harbingers of high inflation to come; ‘There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its citizens,’ he intoned, ‘than debase its currency.’
Since then, inflation has remained quiescent while long-term rates have plunged — and the U.S. economy would surely be in much worse shape than it is if Mr. Bernanke had allowed himself to be bullied into monetary tightening. But Mr. Ryan seems undaunted in his monetary views. Why?
Well, it’s right there in that 2005 speech to the Atlas Society, in which he declared that he always goes back to ‘Francisco d’Anconia’s speech on money’ when thinking about monetary policy. Who? Never mind. That speech (which clocks in at a mere 23 paragraphs) is a case of hard-money obsession gone ballistic. Not only does the character in question, a Galt sidekick, call for a return to the gold standard, he denounces the notion of paper money and demands a return to gold coins. For the record, the U.S. currency supply has consisted overwhelmingly of paper money, not gold and silver coins, since the early 1800s. So if Mr. Ryan really thinks that Francisco d’Anconia had it right, he wants to turn the clock back not one but two centuries.
Does any of this matter? Well, if the Republican ticket wins, Mr. Ryan will surely be an influential force in the next administration — and bear in mind, too, that he would, as the cliché goes, be a heartbeat away from the presidency. So it should worry us that Mr. Ryan holds monetary views that would, if put into practice, go a long way toward recreating the Great Depression.
So in case the GOPteabag party’s cave man views of women, abortion and teh gay have you worried, and RomneyRyan’s plans to shred the social welfare state and the income safety net worry you even more, there’s more: RomneyRyan want to take our monetary policy back to the 1700’s.