I Wouldn’t Hire Ron Paul

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I will grant that Ron Paul is both intelligent and wise. And yes, it is true, that he is the most effective champion of human liberty in public life and seems to know more about the U.S. Constitution than any other elected official. He does seem to be personally kind and is even patient with the most obnoxious media figures. And it's clear from his voting record that he is a man of principle and integrity.

Still, I wouldn't hire Ron Paul…

… to fix my car. He could be a backyard automotive tinkerer for all I know. But there is no public evidence to that effect. And I sure wouldn't hire him to do eye surgery.

He's not that kind of doctor.

Nor would I hire him to structure a leveraged buyout or manage a hostile corporate takeover. He's not experienced in those things. In fact, for something like that, or to run a private equity firm that does corporate turnarounds, I actually might hire Mitt Romney. It seems he has both experience and demonstrable success in that area.

But I certainly wouldn't hire Romney to be president.

Especially now.

With the global doomsday debt clock ticking down, the dollar's world reserve currency status unwinding, and the American dream clearly beginning to fade, we desperately need someone knowledgeable about the economic principles and monetary policies that have gotten us into this mess.

Someone who knows how to get us out.

And that wouldn't include Mitt Romney.

With all the demands of amassing his substantial personal fortune, Mitt has clearly been too busy to spend any time learning about the Federal Reserve and its role in our perpetual sequence of bubbles and busts, or studying Hayek to find out why state central economic planning must fail, or learning about money and credit from Mises.

It is unfortunate that people tend to confuse some of these financial and economic matters, imagining skills in one to be interchangeable with knowledge about the other. But they are not the same thing.

If Mitt Romney understood the key economic issues of our time, he wouldn't have voted for TARP, Bush's $700 billion bailout bill in 2008.

Did it do anything for the real estate market as promised?

No.

Did it do anything for employment or the debt crisis?

No.

After years, we still have depression era levels of unemployment and 45 million Americans on food stamps. And a national debt that has exploded from $9 trillion when the recession began to $15 trillion today.

Romney asserts the tired and the unverifiable: that if the Keynesians' pump-more-money-into-the-popped-bubble crowd hadn't done what they did, things would really be bad.

That's a good self-exonerating line that the crowd plays over and over. But it is they themselves who did exactly what they have done for generations, blowing up one bubble after another.

Or, stated differently, they sold us the map that marched us into the swamp to begin with. And then they sold us another bogus $700 billion map that was supposed to lead us out.

Only it didn't.

One could charitably say that Mitt understands none of this. Or cynically, that while TARP did nothing for homeowners in places like Kansas City, or for the unemployed in Modesto, it sure did something for Wall Street.

If Romney understood the Federal Reserve, he might not support its chairmen and its mission. But because Romney hasn't devoted time to understanding central banking perhaps it needs to be described to him in a way that a corporate turnaround professional can understand.

What would Romney say about a hundred year old family-owned company whose outside management had destroyed 96 percent of the value of the company's product?

Because that's exactly what the Fed has done to the value of the dollar.

Would any self-respecting equity manager say, as Romney has said of the Fed, that such malfeasance doesn't deserve his effort or focus? What if a closer look revealed just how much the company's directors had prospered by their destruction of the family wealth? Would that be worth Romney's attention?

It might be said that Mitt is altogether pleased that the nation's monetary affairs are arranged to benefit investment bankers at the expense of the people. But if that is too cynical, it could be more charitably said that he just hasn't had time to master the arcane world of central banking.

That's fine.

But then Romney simply shouldn't offer himself up as president.

Especially now.

Of course the very busy Mitt Romney seems to have given no more thought to American foreign policy than to the bailouts and the Fed. His glib call for a new American century of global military dominance has the anachronistic ring of someone who missed all the unintended consequences of our propping up sheiks and shahs and dictators around the world. And of someone who slept right through Bush's elective war in Iraq. It sounds like someone who is completely clueless about the way the $1.2 trillion a year we spend on the national security state has bankrupted this country.

Romney says that if he knew then what we know now about Iraq, he wouldn't have gone in.

That's not good enough.

Because plenty of people knew then what we know now.

Ron Paul was clear that Iraq posed no threat to the security of this country. He knew that the war was being undertaken without constitutional authorization and that rather than an affair of days or weeks that we were told, he said that Bush's splendid little war would be the biggest since World War II. He foresaw that the war would be accompanied by the growth of military and police powers along with the erosion of our civil liberties.

Having studied central banking and applied the insights of great economist like Mises, Ron Paul has described both in advance and in detail the cycle of bubbles and busts the Federal Reserve has plagued us with.

His 2003 description in Congress of the way the housing bubble would develop and the long-term damage it would do the U.S. economy was stunningly exact, a precise step-by-step preview of the calamity just as it unfolded.

The Federal Reserve may not merit Mitt Romney's attention, but if the Fed had not been worthy of Ron Paul's attention, we would not have learned the shocking truth about how the Fed had been acting as central bank to the world, secretly loaning trillions of dollars to the most politically powerful banks and companies. Not to mention foreign banks including Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland, Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse, and even one owned in substantial part by the Central Bank of Libya.

At this point it is not reasonable to expect that Mitt Romney has any idea what the economic consequences of these Federal Reserve policies will be. Since the mortgage meltdown the Federal Reserve has blown up its balance sheet, the adjusted monetary base, from $800 billion to more than $2.6 trillion. The cost of this policy is yet to be seen, but for one who understands money and credit like Ron Paul, that cost is entirely foreseeable. The consequences will be severe. It is America's next big economic calamity.

Mitt Romney doesn't know what the consequences of that will be. He hasn't applied himself to understanding central banking and monetary theory. He hasn't studied Mises and Hayek and Rothbard. He's an equity raiser and corporate turnaround guy.

It's a different skill set.

Mitt Romney might be a capable venture capitalist, but it would really be a serious mistake to hire him to be president. And that's putting it charitably.

Ron Paul hasn't spent his time structuring debt/equity ratios, thinking about mezzanine financing, or doing venture capital deals. But after a succession of shallow Romneys, following generations of failed Keynesian spend-our way-to-prosperity economics, and facing now the bankruptcy of the welfare/warfare state, for what ails this country Ron Paul is the doctor.

Let's hire the right man this time.

Charles Goyette [send him mail] is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Dollar Meltdown: Surviving the Impending Currency Crisis with Gold, Oil, and Other Unconventional Investments, now available in paperback. And coming in February 2012, Charles Goyette’s Freedom & Prosperity Letter. His new book Red and Blue and Broke All Over: Restoring America's Free Economy will be released March 15.

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