Broken Clock Ron Paul Gets One Right

Has hell frozen over? Is it a late April Fools’ joke? No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, that really IS progressive firebrand economist Dean Baker endorsing and throwing his intellectual heft behind one of Ron Paul”s ideas.

Like a lot of people on the left side of the political spectrum in this country, I consider Ron Paul something of a loose cannon. It’s not that he’s an inconsistent flip-flopper like Mitt Romney is. Far from it: in fact, Paul is one of the most stubbornly consistent ideologues in Congress. His continued re-election and perennial popularity as a Presidential candidate among a small but very devoted supporter base are both tributes of sorts to the kind of inflexibility of ideology Paul models daily. When Ron Paul believes a thing, he really believes it, and political considerations (what might be popular or prudent to say in front of cameras) do not deter him from saying exactly what he thinks, loudly and often, to anyone who’ll listen.

Unfortunately, my use of the “loose cannon” label for Ron Paul comes from the fact that much of what he thinks and says is simply loony, or otherwise unpalatable. I won’t catalogue the ways in which Paul is firmly in the category of “someone I’d probably never find myself voting for”; let’s just suffice it to say that many of the ideas he presents with such zeal and persistence are not things I agree with and often, things I think the facts show aren’t even true (the idea that a return to the gold standard would be a good thing, for starters).

However, if there’s one thing Ron Paul is NOT, it’s a run-of-the-mill Republican. The average specimen of today’s GOP is, in my opinion, much more dangerous than a guy like Paul, because today’s GOP seems to believe in literally nothing except a continuation of their own power. To the extent they have any consistent beliefs at all, those beliefs are often contradicted by facts already in evidence (such as on climate change and a host of other issues), and when it comes to such things, the modern GOP’s answer to them is to try to change the law, or the textbooks, or the history books in order to reflect a worldview that’s more friendly to the frankly delusional GOP worldview. Ron Paul’s too intellectually honest (or perhaps rigorous) to allow himself to fall into that trap just to be a loyal GOP soldier. As such, he is a perennial thorn in the side of the GOP establishment: a popular, well-known figure in their own party (at least nominally) who is always willing to call bullshit as necessary on the party’s nuttier ideas.

For myself, I often refer to Ron Paul with the old adage of a broken clock – it’s right twice a day. I don’t often find myself agreeing with him, but when he’s right, he’s right. I don’t know Dean Baker, but I imagine he probably feels much the same way with regard to Paul’s ideas. However, this happens to be one of those times. Ron Paul has put forth what has to be considered the most original idea for dealing with the upcoming debt-ceiling crisis that his party is currently trying to milk for all it’s worth (and risking some very serious negative outcomes in the process). Briefly, it’s that the federal reserve “burn” (essentially, forgive) several hundred billion dollars it’s collected over the years in debt to itself. I won’t explain it further, because the point of this post is that Dean Baker himself has done so. If you haven’t yet, take a minute to read it and pass it along to your friends and people in the political world. This idea of Ron Paul’s won’t solve the debt-limit crisis, nor will it make the deficit go away. But it’s something that can be done immediately and with not a huge amount of repercussions that would give significant breathing (and maneuvering) room on the debt ceiling to the fed, instantly. Let Dean Baker explain why it’s an idea worth considering.


5 thoughts on “Broken Clock Ron Paul Gets One Right

  1. Wow, he must have a funny kind of broken clock, it sure seems to be right more than twice a day…

  2. Sir, as a leftwingnut, I wouldn’t expect you to agree with Ron Paul, nor would I expect you to understand his reasoning. Usually, when one ‘doesn’t get it’ where Ron Paul is concerned, they simply attach a tag to him like ‘loony’, ‘off the wall’, or some such other derogatory tag.
    Perhaps some day you will understand what Ron Paul has been saying all these years. Perhaps when the Federal Reserves can no longer print fiat money, our debt ceiling is raised so many times with spending raised beyond it, perhaps then you will better understand Ron Paul.

  3. I’m particularly amused that both of the above two responses are from people I don’t believe I’ve ever met or spoken with, and both appeared within minutes of me hitting the “send” button on this post. The first one quite literally flashed across my push-email transom as I was using a URL-shortening service to get a short link to my own post so I could Tweet it. It was that fast.

    If you’ll notice, the time-stamp on this post is 11:29 EDT. The first comment above came in at 11:32 EDT. Such speed of reply might not raise any eyebrows if this were DailyKos of HuffPo, but my little out-of-the-way WordPress blog? No.” I’ve no idea how fast commenter kj reads, but I have to imagine it took at least a minute to read my entire post. Thus, such a near-instantaneous reply here at PTL means either that a Ron Paul fan happened to be randomly perusing this blog and happened to hit “refresh” on the homepage within seconds of me posting this post…or, that the same Ron Paul fan has a) a very fast Internet connection and b) an equally fast Google-alert which continually scans the internet for anything Ron Paul-related and sends out an immediate alert. You be the judge of which of those things is more likely. ;o)

    I bring this up not to quibble or complain (hey, I get few enough comments here that it’d be churlish if not downright counterproductive of me to alienate any of my few potential commenters, LOL), but rather merely to underscore what I said above about Ron Paul having “…a small but very devoted supporter base. Initially, I had actually written the words “deeply fanatical” instead of the less-loaded “very devoted,” but went back and changed it because the goal here was not (or not primarily) to get into a fight with Paulites or to bash Ron Paul himself, but to highlight his idea, point out that even liberal economist Dean Baker agrees with it, and further state that I do, too.

    That’s ultimately how I know the “deeply fanatical” label was probably the more accurate one: in a post where I credit Ron Paul with having had a genuinely inventive, good idea on the debt-ceiling mess, within ten minutes, I had not one but TWO replies from Paul supporters, both dinging me for not being sufficiently pro-Paul.

    Again, you do the math. ;o)

  4. Yea.. so anywayws author. To all the people who say Mr. Ron Paul cannot win 2012; All You hear is, he has great ideas, he’s consistent, principled, has forecasted much of the economic problems years ago and wins many of the straw polls. But he’s unelectable. WHY! He’s the best man for the job and he’s got my vote!

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