Ron Paul Can Win in 2012
by Walter Block
Recently by Walter Block: Japanese Earthquake
If Ron Paul can somehow win the presidential nomination of the Republican Party, he will have an excellent chance of beating Barack Obama in November 2012. He will of course face great obstacles in the Republican primaries, but, if he can overcome them, it ought to be downhill after that.
Why will the congressman from Texas have a good shot at beating a sitting President during (non-declared) war time?
Paul can out-left Obama on foreign policy and personal liberties, and thus make gigantic inroads on the latter’s base, while at the same time maintain his right wing credentials on economics.
Not only has Obama not withdrawn the U.S. from Iraq, as promised, he has involved us in yet another undeclared war in Libya. He has expanded the hostilities from Afghanistan to Pakistan, utilizing drone strikes. He has presided over the murder of dozens of Yemenis, none of whom posed any threat to our shores. He has allowed torture for the WikiLeaker, and on U.S. territory. Obama is responsible for the biggest military spending in the history of the world, has bailed out fat cats from Wall Street to Detroit, and still has not closed down our torture chamber in Cuba, again as promised. Ron Paul, in contrast, opposes corporate welfare, and would not only exit, and forthwith, from Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, but would do so for hundreds (yes, hundreds) of other nations ranging from Germany to Japan to vast parts of South America, Asia, and Africa. What on earth are we still doing in all these faraway places, the left wing of the Democratic Party might well ask?
A Paul Administration would hack away heavily at the previously sacrosanct military budget, radically tackling our financial crisis without any need to raise our debt ceiling once again. In contrast, it will be the same old, same old, from Obama. The deficits will continue to be monetized by the Fed, creating inflation, and thus exacerbating poverty (Isn’t the left supposed to be against poverty?) and further decreasing the value of the sinking dollar.
Another area in which Obama’s base will actually prefer Paulian policy is drug legalization. Disproportionate numbers of young black men are now in jail for engaging in this victimless crime, and all too many others of them have perished from violence due to prohibition (Aren’t “progressives” supposed to favor the black community?). Have we learned nothing from our dire experience with the prohibition of alcohol? The country to the south of us is unraveling at a ferocious pace due to these self same drug laws, and we ourselves cannot much longer remain immune from this whirlwind this legislation has created.
Of course, Paul’s policies on eliminating U.S. imperialism abroad and saving us from the scourge of drug prohibition at home will not resonate too well with the conservative Republicans, who are pretty rabid in the wrong direction on both issues. And, while Representative Paul has made great strides in denigrating the central planning Fed and promoting the 100% gold backed dollar as a method of quelling the business cycle with its heightened unemployment and bankruptcies, it cannot be said that this is at all acceptable to the party faithful on either side of the aisle. (Do both the left and the right favor our current depression?)
Dr. Paul is particularly vulnerable on the question of Israel, in the view of some people. He wants to end so called “foreign aid” (more accurately and less pejoratively translated into “government to government transfers of funds,” which does not at all imply program benefits). But this would mean that the only functioning democracy in the Middle East would have its financial support taken away from it. However, U.S. transfers of funds to Israel’s enemies in the Arab world vastly outweigh that given to this country alone. This home of the Jewish people would have less money (private donations would of course be unaffected) from the U.S. government absolutely, but relative to its enemies it would actually gain. As well, these funds render the Israeli economy less efficient than would otherwise be the case. These points have recently been appreciated by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. For more on why Ron Paul should be greatly appreciated by the Jewish community, see here, here, and here.
Social security, too, is a sacred cow amongst the Republicans. So much for their adherence to the philosophy of free enterprise. But this is actually a vast left wing conspiracy (FDR inaugurated it). Bernie Madoff just went to prison for something very much along these Ponzi scheme lines. The idea behind this “third rail” of American politics is that people are too stupid to save for their old ages and the state must force them to do so, for their own good. But if the electorate is that deranged, how can we allow them to vote at all, let alone to expect them to mark their ballot boxes wisely. And, how is it that they are so wise so as to elect politicians who will then correct these errors of theirs? No, this policy rends asunder family ties between the younger and older generations, and is not needed. Just because some few will act in a silly manner is no reason to forcibly victimize all of us with the Ponzi scheme. Ron will end this sacred cow, but the Republicans, to say nothing of the Democrats, will not like it one bit.
But at least this statesman from Texas is not a socialist like Romney with his medical plan for Massachusetts which anticipated Obama’s compulsory support for the health insurance industry. Dr. Paul would rely, instead, on a truly free market in medicine to drive prices down to reasonable levels, as this system has done in all other industries that have been left relatively free. Capitalism works for everything else, why not health care? Nor is Congressman Paul a theocratic imperialist as is Mike Huckabee, nor is he a lightweight of the order of Sarah Palin, nor is he a flake like Donald Trump, whose main accomplishment in politics is to force Obama to release his birth certificate. So, will Ron win the Republican nomination, and then go on to victory in the next election?
All we can say for sure is that the next political cycle is likely to be fought over ideas and philosophies, not personalities as in the past, if Paul gets the nod from the Republicans.
A truncated version of this article appeared in the Loyola University Student Newspaper, The Maroon, on 5/6/11.
Dr. Block [send him mail] is a professor of economics at Loyola University New Orleans, and a senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute. He is the author of Defending the Undefendable and Labor Economics From A Free Market Perspective. His latest book is The Privatization of Roads and Highways.