Wednesday, September 14, 2016

The Republican Leadership and Money

We got through 9/11 with a few attacks on Muslims but no serious acts of Islamic terrorism in the USA. This ought to convince us that Da'esh is weak; if they could have done something, they would. So today I woke up wondering if Mike Pence was a gold bug, and what the Republican leadership and platform had to say about the Federal Reserve and the currency.

So I looked. Yup. And the Republicans, if they gain control of Congress and the Presidency are likely to pass policies that would make the crash of 2008 look like a minor blip.

Mike Pence, VP pick: He’s a goldbug
The U.S. abandoned [the gold standard] in 1971, and as Krugman notes: Since then the price of gold has increased roughly tenfold, while consumer prices have increased about 250 percent. If we had tried to keep the price of gold from rising, this would have required a massive decline in the prices of practically everything else — deflation on a scale not seen since the Depression. This doesn’t sound like a particularly good idea.

Paul Ryan, Speaker of the House: His idea is from Ayn Rand.
The Fed would have to raise interest rates when commodity prices go up, regardless of the state of the economy. This is all kinds of crazy. Commodity prices have shot up the past decade as developing nations have developed — unrelated to inflation here. It makes no sense to make our economy worse because China's economy is getting better. 
Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican Leader, is not a public gold bug, but he doesn’t like the Federal Reserve and believes there has been substantial inflation in the past eight years (there hasn't.)

Ted Cruz, influential Republican Senator, is a gold bug: "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.”

2016 Republican Platform is goldbug:
Determined to crush the double-digit inflation that was part of the Carter Administration’s economic legacy, President Reagan, shortly after his inauguration, established a commission to consider the feasibility of a metallic basis for U.S. currency. In 2012, facing the task of cleaning up the wreckage of the current Administration’s policies, we proposed a similar commission to investigate ways to set a fixed value for the dollar. 
With Republican leadership, the House of Representatives has passed legislation to set up just such a commission. We recommend its enactment by the full Congress and the commission’s careful consideration of ways to secure the integrity of our currency.
Hey, us corvids will be here to pick over the bones of the economy.

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