Monday, August 22, 2011

Is Ron Paul Crazy? Part V: The Conclusion

Ron Paul has been consistently called crazy by the establishment media and political parties for his attacks against Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve in general. The preceding series was an attempt to educate people on Ron Paul’s understanding of economics that comes from subjective-utility economics that has become associated with the Austrian School of Economics.

The question remains; is Ron Paul crazy?

Is Ron Paul Crazy? Part I

I certainly used to think so.

I admired him during the debates for the Republican nomination for President in the summer of 2007 because of his strong commitment to limited government, the Constitution, and bringing troops not out of just Iraq, but from all over the world. But then he would go on rants about returning to the gold standard and how Federal Reserve policy was going to lead to a financial disaster.

Let's start with an analysis of the gold standard.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Is Ron Paul Crazy? Part IV

After a nearly 15 month hiatus I am finally ready to conclude my series on Ron Paul. I felt the break was necessary so I could take the time to fully understand Austrian Business Cycle Theory.

Parts I - III dealt with the gold standard, fractional-reserve, and central banking. I will now conclude the analysis of Ron Paul's policies by laying out Austrian Business Cycle Theory. This is important as it is relevant to current affairs, more specifically, the recent rise in food and oil prices.

Austrian Business Cycle Theory tells us that any increase in credit money will lead to a boom that must be followed by a bust as the credit money is contracted, so long as the credit money is invested in capital goods. The increase in credit money, or inflation, leads to many investments during the boom that are later revealed to be malinvestments during the bust. The theory is clear; if we wish to avoid the bust, we must not allow the boom.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Are Tax Credits Subsidies?

Recently, Ron Paul published an article titled “How Should Government Treat Energy Producers?”

In discussing the tax code he makes the following claim (emphasis mine), "with tax credits and deductions, industries, business, and individuals simply get to keep more of the money they have earned." He uses this to justify his support for tax credits and that, “Removing tax credits is nothing more than a tax increase.” It should be noted that is the same position Murray Rothbard held in his essay “The Case Against the Flat Tax”.

I emphasized “they have earned” above because that is the crucial question. If a credit or deduction allows an individual (to use the terms “industries” and “business” is redundant as they are in fact made up of individuals) to retain his own income then this is indeed a good thing (from a libertarian point of view). It takes the form of Sam steals from Paul to give back to Paul. If, however, the credit or deduction is the income of someone else then this is a subsidy and a distribution of wealth that takes the form Sam steals from Paul to give to Peter.