When Ron Paul began his presidential campaign in the summer of 2007 he was, when not systematically ignored, popularly derided by the media. They would mention his name in passing or as part of a joke. When he set internet fundraising records, far surpassing those of even what Obama or McCain had raised at the time, it was discarded as a mere internet miracle. A one-off stunt by some fanatics who never had a voice in real politics - only the internet. When he did it again, surpassing the previous record, the media started sharpening their attacks. They disallowed him from participating in debates. They labeled his whole movement a bunch of conspiracy theorists. When that didn't work, they called Paul himself a racist and made sure everybody knew about it. That didn't work either. It was patently absurd. When hundreds of Libertarian-minded Republican Party members showed up to state conventions, they were intimidated, accused of treason and disqualified from eligibility for delegation.
It was apparent that the neocons had their minds made up. So Paul took his remaining funds and started The Campaign For Liberty. It would serve as a hub for the continuation of the campaign after Paul withdrew from the presidential race. When the Republican Party held their convention in St. Paul to cement John McCain's inevitable failure, it was to be expected that Dr. Paul would not be invited to speak. So the Campaign For Liberty held their own convention across town, drawing thousands in kind.
The economic crisis validated much of what Paul's platform had warned of. Primarily that the Federal Reserve System was the primary cause of exaggerated business cycles and that inflationism and mounting debt was a guaranteed path to crisis.
Fast forward about one year and America is gaga over Ron Paul. The media can't get enough. His bill HR 1207 now has over 270 cosponsors - far more than the 218 majority necessary. It's sister bill in the Senate S. 604 has 17 cosponsors. And the media is in a frenzy over the once thought of remote possibility that the Federal Reserve's opacity will be challenged.
Yesterday, congressman Paul questioned Fed Chairman Bernanke in the semiannual hearing with the Financial Services Oversight Committee. His rhetoric was some of the most pointed I have seen to date, reflecting the growing clout Paul and his supporters now carry. The two exchanges, the first being a statement and the second being his allotted 5 minutes for Q&A are both below for your viewing enjoyment.
Bernanke and some other prominent monetarist economists have been trying to poke holes in Paul's bill and cause some consternation among populist supporters of the bill. Naturally, the objections fall on deaf ears because they are preposterous. And in Paul's questioning of Bernanke yesterday, he pointed out some of those faulty assertions.
If one were to have the fortitude to sit through an entire session of these hearings, it becomes painfully obvious that there are very few members who have the faintest idea of what is going on. At one moment, Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver said he was asking a "theological" question (obviously meaning "theoretical"). Most simply ask Bernanke of his opinion about the future - as if his predictive record qualifies him for palm reading let alone the timing of public policy initiatives.
But it is this higher understanding of the financial system and the Federal Reserve System in general that seems to have endeared himself to the average folk yearning to make sense out of the jumble of political rhetoric. Paul explains things very simply - from the Austrian perspective. What goes up, must come down. Spending more now, means spending less later. Deficits result in higher taxes. Inflationary policies result in economic distortions. These are things that the average everyday person can relate to. Neoclassical economists often claim the opposite - that while something may be true for the individual, it may not be true for government, bankers or any other special interest group. Paul's ability to convey these basic praxeological truths in layman's terms has made him somewhat of a rockstar. Indeed, "during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act."
Below are some videos of Paul's TV appearances. All in the last 24 hours:
The Ron Paul Revolution was supposed to end with a whimper. Now, it's being televised.
Periods of economic turmoil are renowned for preceding political upheaval. And nobody would realistically assert that the current paradigm will survive indefinitely. Ross Perot tried to change things in the early 90's. But people weren't angry enough. Eventually, some figure will come along and change everything. When this happens it will have a profound impact on investments of all types. The only question remaining is whether this change will be a force for good or evil.
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