Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) sometimes seems like an island of sanity crying out in the middle of an ocean of lunacy. That's what I thought when I heard Paul talking about the current financial crisis and the bailout plan. Paul says the bailout amounts to nothing but propping up the same failed policies and systems that brought us to where we are today. It's hard not to agree with him:
WOLF BLITZER ("Late Edition" host): What do you say to the president who wants you and your fellow Republicans and Democrats to quickly pass this $700 billion bailout package?
PAUL: Well, I think that's a mistake because we don't have the money. But that doesn't mean you have to do nothing. I mean, we could reform the system. We could return to sound money. We could balance our budget. We could change our foreign policy. We could take care of our people at home. We could lower taxes.
There's a lot of things that we can do. But the worst thing that we can do is perpetuate the bad policies that gave us this trouble in the first place, and that is that we no longer, over the last quite a few decades, believed in free-market capitalism. Capital is supposed to come from savings. We're supposed to work hard and save.
As a matter of fact, the Chinese work hard, right now, and they save, and they're buying up the world. But we borrow and spend and consume, and now it's caught up to us and it's undermining our whole system. ... So this $700 billion is not going to do it.
"This is Wall Street in big trouble and sucking in Main Street, now, and dumping all the bills on Main Street. ... And you can't solve the problem of inflation, which is the creation of money and credit out of thin air, by more money and credit out of thin air, and not changing policy. We have to change basic policy.
"Yes, it would be painful, but it wouldn't last so long. What they're doing now, they're propping up a failed system so the agony lasts longer. They're doing exactly what we did in the Depression."
"So, yes, there are going to be losses, but everybody lived beyond their means when the prices of houses were going up. Nobody cared about it. They kept borrowing against it. Oh, yes, that was fine and dandy. Everybody was making money, and the owner of the home kept borrowing and living beyond their means. Now they have to live beneath their means.
"What the government is doing now -- and this new program is trying to prop up prices. You want the price structure to adjust. You want the price of houses to go down. You don't want to fix the price of housing. You can't price-fix. We've had too much of that.
"We need a market economy. We need to believe in ourselves. We need to believe and understand how the economy got us -- how the government got us into this mess. And believe me, it wouldn't be that tough. It would be a bad year. But, this way, it's going to be a bad decade."
Paul is exactly right. His recommendations, while painful, are sound. But our current government is all about pain avoidance, not sound policy. It's about getting elected, not sound policy. It's about special interests, not sound policy.
Paul also says neither John McCain nor Barack Obama have any answers for the financial crisis. I can't argue with that either.
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