Rand Paul Draws Liberal Fire Over Audit the Fed, Part Two

Prof. Paul Krugman (photo credit: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0)
Prof. Paul Krugman (photo credit: David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0)

Sen. Rand Paul is drawing liberal fire from many left wing commentators, now including Prof. Paul Krugman.  Many of the criticisms are badly off base. As noted in yesterday’s column there is so much simply factually incorrect about The New Republic‘s Danny Vinik recent Rand Paul Has the Most Dangerous Economic Views of Any 2016 Candidate— for example — that one hardly knows where to begin.

Vinik by no means is the only commentator to go into hyperbolic meltdown over Rand Paul. Nobel Prize economics laureate Paul Krugman, recently, in Money Makes Crazy:

Right now, the most obvious manifestation of money madness is Senator Rand Paul’s “Audit the Fed” campaign. Mr. Paul likes to warn that the Fed’s efforts to bolster the economy may lead to hyperinflation; he loves talking about the wheelbarrows of cash that people carted around in Weimar Germany.

Prof. Krugman, a polemicist, characteristically exaggerates. Mr. Paul “likes to warn?” The record demonstrates two brief statements of concern, made in obscure venues, by Dr. Paul. If there are any more they must be obiter dicta in venues even more obscure, showing these “likes” to be far less than a leitmotif of Paul’s rhetoric, much less agenda.

Krugman goes on to indict the Republicans as “monetary crazy” — based mostly on a few stray comments and some utterly irrelevant, outlying, positions such as one derived from Ayn Rand. Few of the positions he cites are any part of the real discourse now ongoing among the center right. Krugman studiously ignores intelligent concerns stated by the Honorable Paul Volcker, the Honorable Jeb Hensarling, the Honorable Scott Garrett, and the Honorable Kevin Brady, among others, as well as scholarly publications by Heritage Foundation, Cato Institute, Atlas Foundation, and other center-right policy institutes (such as American Principles in Action, which I professionally advise).

Prof. Krugman and Danny Vinik thus present themselves as exhibits in support of the observation of Sen. Nelson Aldrich, head of the National Monetary Commission, before the New York Economics Club in 1909, “[T]he study of monetary questions is one of the leading causes of insanity” … (which the erudite Krugman’s headline, Money Makes Crazy, echoes).

Krugman is right about one thing, though: “Monetary policy … should be” a major issue in the 2016 campaign. And Danny Vinik, despite his errors, is right about one thing. Rand Paul might well be “by far the most dangerous candidate in the 2016 field” — though for the the progressive central planning agenda, not for the economy.

Read the full column at Forbes.com.

Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles in Action’s Senior Advisor, Economics.