Robbing Paul to Pay Peter

Ron Paul just can’t get a break in the debates. In the most recent one, focusing on foreign policy, he was afforded only 89 seconds. This has been typical of his treatment for most of them so far.

What is it about Paul that engenders such lack of attention? He polls low, but as the cited article points out, he is dead consistent in his poll numbers. No one expects him to win the nomination, but neither do they expect Michele Bachmann or Herman Cain to win. One may disagree with Paul, but he is infinitely sharper and more sensible than Bachmann or most of the other candidates. So why the snub?

Let’s start with foreign policy. First, I do not fully endorse Paul’s recommendations on foreign policy, so the following is not a vigorous defense of his views. It is hopefully a set of reasons that he should be afforded much more attention than he is getting.

Paul is by and large a non-interventionist. He believes that the United States should not be in the business of keeping troops on foreign soil outside Congressionally approved wartime deployments. He is in favor of bringing troops in the Middle East home immediately. He is also generally opposed to economic sanctions against other countries, which he blames for much of the hostility toward the US. One doesn’t have to be a complete non-interventionist to allow that we are entangled in questionable foreign troop deployments. Sounds like Paul is making a good point to me.

Now domestic policy. Paul is a true libertarian. He believes that government’s role should be limited to only those things specified in the Constitution. A rough translation is that government should protect individual rights from being violated and national borders against foreign invasion and not much else.

This is why Paul gets such shabby treatment. Liberals despise him because he advocates small (very small) government. Neo-conservatives despise him because he rains on their hawkish, big-government/big business parade. The GOP establishment is embarrassed that one of their own has the audacity to criticize corporate welfare as well as entitlement programs. And all sides hate him more than anything for pointing out the elephant in the living room–the imminent crash of the dollar.

Ron Paul has for many years now warned that the Federal Reserve is a menace. Our policy of deficit spending coupled with fiat currency will inevitably lead to an increasingly vicious cycle of spending to “boost the economy” and printing money to pay the debts incurred in so doing. His prediction is that the dollar will completely lose its value, possibly overnight in an explosive episode of hyperinflation.

Some other candidates have climbed onto the sound money bandwagon, but none have demonstrated the thoughtfulness that Paul has over the years. Agree or not, we know what Paul would do at the helm, and that is allow people to use whatever they want for money, forcing the Fed to keep the dollar sound instead of printing more of it to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Congress for spending. Some in the GOP may lamely endorse auditing the Fed, but almost none really want the political favors they dole out (funded largely by money-printing) on constituents and contributors to end, which it will if Paul has his way.

The only people who love Paul are the ones who understand libertarianism as a sound response to the insanity of our present-day political circus. They know that no amount of tinkering around the edges will save us from a nasty fall. Ron Paul gives voice to a wide swath of perfectly sane and sensible Americans who know that government has gotten too big, too powerful, and too meddlesome. No matter what the outcome of the primaries, Paul will have done us all a favor by getting libertarianism out on the table.



About Terry Noel

I am an Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods at Illinois State University. My specialty is entrepreneurship.
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3 Responses to Robbing Paul to Pay Peter

  1. Diane Benjamin says:

    February 7th I’ve got a TEA meeting open if you are available. 6:30. Can you make the Federal Reserve exciting?


    • Terry Noel says:

      You bet. What time and where?

      Terry W. Noel Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods Illinois State University Author of Empty Nest Egg: Why You Must Start Your Own Business NOW Blog:


    • Terry Noel says:

      Oops. Just need where. Saw the 6:30 just now.

      Terry W. Noel Associate Professor of Management and Quantitative Methods Illinois State University Author of Empty Nest Egg: Why You Must Start Your Own Business NOW Blog:


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