For three decades, Rep. Ron Paul has waged a lonely battle in Congress to abolish the Federal Reserve. But he has more foot soldiers across the nation today, particularly after the financial crisis, who are leading the drive for wider congressional audits of the central bank. (See today’s Journal story for more on their movement.)
In his new book — “End the Fed” — released today, Rep. Paul walks through his critique of the central bank and lays out a strategy (briefly) for eliminating it. We sat down with the congressman to hear his views on a money system backed by gold, the Fed’s challenge of withdrawing its stimulus and his legislation to audit the central bank. Excerpts of the interview:
What would a world without the Fed look like?
You’d go back to the day that if you wanted to borrow money to build a house, somebody would’ve had to save some money. You wouldn’t have zero savings and all the credit in the world. That’s just a total distortion of capitalism. Capital comes from savings. The part you don’t use for everyday living which you have left over, you reinvest and you save or you loan it out. We were living with something absolutely bizarre that had nothing to do with capitalism. We had no savings whatsoever yet there was all the credit in the world.
So without the Fed, there wouldn’t be as much credit.
Yeah, it would be different. If you were selling me a car and the car was worth $10,000 and I didn’t want to pay cash, you could take credit from me. You’ve got to have something to measure it by. What is a dollar? We don’t even know what a dollar is. There’s no definition for a dollar. There’s never been a time in law that said a Federal Reserve note is a dollar. That’s the basic flaw. There’s no definition for money. We’ve built a worldwide economy on a measuring rod that varies every single day. That’s why it was fragile, and that’s why it collapsed. There was no soundness to it. So that’s why you have to have a stable unit of account.
If you live in a primitive society, you’d trade goods. And if you wanted to advance, then you would trade a universal good, which would be a coin. But we’ve become sophisticated and smart and say, ‘Oh, you don’t have to go through that. We’ll just print the money. And we’ll trust the government not to print too much, and distribute it fairly.’ That’s often just a total farce. People are realizing that it is.