Opinion: On Banks and Foreign Policy, Ron Paul is Right

Monday, October 15, 2012 - 09:00 AM

Ron Paul campaigns in Detroit ahead of Michigan's primary. (Getty)

Ron Paul was no more likely to win the Republican presidential nomination this year than Ralph Nader was to win the presidency in 2000, but such candidates don’t run to win, they run to raise issues, and we should thank them for doing so.

Nader’s rants against the dominance of corporations and banks in our politico-economic system seem a lot more relevant in the wake of the 2008 crash than they did back in 2000. Paul’s arguments against foreign military involvement, indeed, against the stated desire of the United States to be the dominant military power on earth, should likewise be gaining traction as our entanglements in the Mideast threaten to lead us into multiple simultaneous wars.

Paul was mocked during the primary season for his proposal to close most U.S. military bases abroad, to stay out of all but defensive wars, and to significantly cut the size of the armed forces. But it is nothing short of alarming now to consider the prospect that, within no more than a few months after Election Day, we could be at war not only in Afghanistan, but also in Syria and Iran.

Until recently, the $1 billion U.S. intervention in Libya was touted by the Obama administration as a model of successful participation in the so-called Arab Spring. But with one U.S. ambassador murdered and virulent anti-American demonstrations resurgent throughout much of the Islamic world, that argument has lost its luster. Paul made a lot of sense, and echoed many Vietnam-era Democrats, when he argued that the U.S. can no longer afford to be the cops of the world.

We now face a situation in which leaders of both parties talk about the need to for “entitlement reform,” by which they mean cuts to Social Security and Medicare. At the same time, they are trying to find a way to avoid implementing the sequestration bill that is supposed to cut $500 billion from the Pentagon budget, beginning next year. So, the parties apparently agree that the nation cannot afford to care for the health and well being of its aging citizenry, but they vow to find enough money to fund war after war. And with Paul out of the presidential campaign, the main event now pits hawk against hawk.

Another of Paul’s signature issues, a call to thoroughly audit the Federal Reserve Bank, has been perennially dismissed as naive and dangerous. But more recently, only a few weeks after Paul’s formal exit from the race, no less respected a figure than Paul Volcker, a former Fed chairman and key advisor to President Obama, has publicly raised the question of whether the Fed has grown too powerful. In an interview with Reuters, Volcker said reforms such as the Dodd-Frank bill have left the Fed with significantly more power than it had before the crash. “Is too much being centered in the Federal Reserve now, should there be a different arrangement?” asked Volcker. “I'm not ready to take it (authority) away from the Federal Reserve entirely, but it deserves a look.''

Rather than write off Paul as a libertarian crackpot, defenders of the Fed’s supposed “independence” would do well to look back at reporting done by Bloomberg Markets magazine in January of this year. Here’s the lead: “The Federal Reserve and the big banks fought for more than two years to keep details of the largest bailout in U.S. history a secret. Now, the rest of the world can see what it was missing. The Fed didn’t tell anyone which banks were in trouble so deep they required a combined $1.2 trillion on Dec. 5, 2008, their single neediest day. Bankers didn’t mention that they took tens of billions of dollars in emergency loans at the same time they were assuring investors their firms were healthy. And no one calculated until now that banks reaped an estimated $13 billion of income by taking advantage of the Fed’s below-market rates.”

Such stories make one wonder what else the Fed is hiding that regular, comprehensive audits might discover. We also have the Fed to thank for the fact that banks no longer pay any appreciable interest on savings accounts or CDs.

It’s a pity the mainstream media and the leadership of both big parties cast ideas such as Paul’s and Nader’s as having come from the lunatic fringe. True, some of Paul’s proposals, such as an end to income taxes, are extreme, and much of Nader’s reform agenda would have proven impractical. But both candidates raised important issues that should be seriously considered and fully debated, not dismissed as the rantings of deluded idealists. Unfortunately, neither Obama nor Mitt Romney has any interest in a reconsideration of American militarism or the unbridled power of the Fed.


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Comments [12]

CharliePeters from Hayward CA

California, Obama / Mitt, November contest would likely give the California winner prize to Obama but how would a 3 way Obama, Mitt & Ron write in vote count end up? RP votes in 2008 were counted.

The Goldman Sacs / Fed reserve / GMO food-fuel twins might create a fun contest with the Texas Dr. Ron Paul

Auit the fed, support HR 459 Paul & S 202 Paul

Is this game about D R or other? maybe it is about saving the republic. Maybe Obama and Mitt are the underdogs.

Oct. 29 2012 07:10 AM

Which of the US Founding Fathers said that people do not deserve freedom when they do not fight for it? What are we doing to fight for ours?

To the 'news' media: calling the whistle-blowers lunatics and alarmists is the exact opposite of defending our nation.

Oct. 19 2012 10:05 AM
Jj frosty from California

I also agree with everything except the income tax, it to me is a strong inhibiter of drive to succeed here in America, as it shows how certain incomes make more even when it's less annual salary.

Oct. 16 2012 06:29 PM

Deluded idealists. Ha. Naive and dangerous. Ha. Libertarian crackpot. Sad thing is, "I told you so" isn't going to give me much comfort when this economy collapses.

Oct. 16 2012 05:50 PM

Paul's policies and actions stem from a set of principles. That's what makes him consistent. That's what makes him right.

I wish that everyone who picks his policies apart to say "this one is sensible" and "this one is (silly/wacko/racist/etc.)", would instead investigate the premises upon which he bases them. You still needn't agree with him but for the sake of intellectual integrity you should understand what you're opposing.

Oct. 16 2012 03:33 PM

Ron Paul was and still is a fascinating politician. A man of honesty, intellect, and a genius of economics. This guy had real common sense answers for the big questions of our unique economic status in America. It is such a colossal shame that his intellect could not be used to fix these problems.
His UNcommon sense could have transformed this republic in a special way.
A genuine American Patriot. An uncommon man.
Dr. Ron Paul. A Teacher in the greatest sense of the word.

Oct. 16 2012 04:43 AM

The government is the biggest and most corrupt branch of bussiness in the world. We wouldn't even have to fight any wars anywhere if they just kept their bussiness to this country. They are the ones to blame for every war and this stagnent economy. If they didnt tax all that work in order to give those that dont "HELP" we would be fine! Actually the government is a huge burden to all US citizens and should be revamped!It could be so much better if people just woke up instead of watching reality TV and Football!

Oct. 15 2012 02:28 PM
J-man from Charlotte, NC

To say Paul was mocked is a bit misleading. All of the republican runners were mocked at one point or another based on what they said. It's all in who is doing the mocking I suppose. I am aware of thousands upon thousands of people, including military personnel, who believe closing bases overseas is a fantastic idea.

Oct. 15 2012 01:12 PM
Dean from Gary, IN

Eliminating the IRS would simply require a 40% reduction from 2008 spending levels. This was spending at year 2000 levels.

Imagine every 100 million employees having $115 more in their paycheck every Friday to spend in the malls on Saturday.

Oct. 15 2012 11:45 AM
Jeb Bush

Gold Bitchez!

Oct. 15 2012 11:00 AM
V from Chicago

Sorry, you lost me at first sentence. Paul had all the chances to win, if only he was given a fair shot. How many times were the rules changed even during the RNC? If you consider yourself to be a journalist at lest do some research or listen to Ben Swann.

Oct. 15 2012 10:53 AM

Thank you for writing this, however I am curious as to one of your points: You say ending the income tax is not doable - WHY? We didn't have an income tax prior to 1913 and our country seemed to do OK. Everyone seems to think income tax is the only tax we pay or something, don't I wish.

Oct. 15 2012 10:45 AM

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