Fighting the PowerSunday, September 13, 2009
END THE FED
By Ron Paul
Grand Central. 212 pp. $21.99
During libertarianish Republican Ron Paul's 2008 presidential campaign, thousands of his supporters burned dollar bills while chanting the anti-monetarist mantra "End the Fed!" Fresh from writing "The Revolution," a bestselling rant against big government, the Texas congressman has made that Jeffersonian slogan the thesis of his new book, a meandering diatribe against central planning, inflationary monetary policy and "the swollen ego of a Fed chairman."
"Nothing good can come from the Federal Reserve," Paul writes. It's "immoral, unconstitutional, impractical, promotes bad economics, and undermines liberty." In light of America's possibly-over-or-maybe-just-beginning economic downturn, Paul's fetish for the free market and the gold standard may be appropriate: If we're still not sure whether FDR-sponsored Keynesianism ended the Great Depression or contributed to it, perhaps Ben Bernanke-sponsored bailouts aren't such a super idea. But Paul's constitutionalist prescriptions to end the "welfare-warfare" state -- which include "letting everyone get into the business of the production of money," Colonial-style -- showcase a suspicion of moderate market intervention that even his ardent acolytes may not share. Remember, they burned $1 bills -- not $100 bills.
-- Justin Moyer