Look Out Ben Bernanke, Ron Paul Is Gunning for You!

More

Last week, I wrote a column about what I think is one of the more intriguing storylines for the new Congress: the possibility that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas)--strident libertarian, devotee of Austrian economics, author of End the Fed--might finally assume the chairmanship of the House subcommittee that oversees the Fed. Twice before he's been denied this spot because the GOP leadership worried he was too much of a rabble-rouser and too independent-minded to control. But given the broad animus toward the Fed--a new Bloomberg poll shows that half of all Americans want it reined in or abolished--especially among the ascendant Tea Party wing of the Republican caucus, denying Paul for a third time would have provoked an uproar.


Well, word has just come down from the Financial Service Committee that Paul got the job.

What will he do with it? And what might this mean for the Fed? I talked to Paul about this last week, and he made two things abundantly clear. One, which was the subject of my column, was that he might use his chairmanship to advance the broader Republican effort to attack the Fed's latest round of quantitative easing--with bond yield soaring, that could further hamper recovery efforts.

But what Paul seemed even more eager to tackle was investigating the "business cycle" and questioning the fundamental need for the central bank (actually, it's not a question for Paul--he'd like to get rid of it). That is to say, he plans to use his subcommittee to bring an Austrian perspective to national affairs. If you want learn a bit more about Paul (who's a fascinating character), Austrian economics, and how this could have a significant effect on the economy and the country, I covered all of it in this profile of Paul in last month's Atlantic. I think today's news about Paul's elevation adds further support to the thesis of the piece, that Paul's ideas are becoming more influential among Republicans, whether or not they credit him (most don't).

I have my doubts about how successful Paul will be in using his chairmanship to win people over to the ideas of Ludwig von Mises and his fellow Austrians, although I pray that somebody on the committee invites Paul Krugman to testify (the theatrics would be incredible!). But there can be no doubt that the broader effect of Paul's chairmanship will be to bring additional pressure against the Fed and further stoke the considerable national anger at the central bank. 

Ben Bernanke, take two aspirin and prepare to testify!
Jump to comments
Presented by

Joshua Green is a former senior editor at The Atlantic.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

The Ghost Trains of America

Can a band of locomotive experts save vintage railcars from ruin?


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Why Did I Study Physics?

Using hand-drawn cartoons to explain an academic passion

Video

What If Emoji Lived Among Us?

A whimsical ad imagines what life would be like if emoji were real.

Video

Living Alone on a Sailboat

"If you think I'm a dirtbag, then you don't understand the lifestyle."

Video

How Is Social Media Changing Journalism?

How new platforms are transforming radio, TV, print, and digital

Video

The Place Where Silent Movies Sing

How an antique, wind-powered pipe organ brings films to life

Feature

The Future of Iced Coffee

Are artisan businesses like Blue Bottle doomed to fail when they go mainstream?

Writers

Up
Down

More in Politics

Just In