Paul Ryan’s Limited Imagination

Everyone knows that Ron Paul has some crank notions about monetary economics, but Paul Ryan’s own crankitude on this score is badly underrated. Will Wilkinson, for example, flags this alarming quote from Ryan’s participation in a recent committee hearing with Ben Bernanke:

“Our currency should provide a reliable store of value—it should be guided by the rule of law, not the rule of men,” Mr Ryan informed Mr Bernanke. “There is nothing more insidious that a country can do to its citizens than debase its currency.”

This is reminiscent of VI Lenin’s old time claim that “the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debase the currency.” That said, Lenin’s takeover of the Russian government led to, among other things, the Povolzhye famine of 1921 which I’d say was considerably worse than inflation. And that’s to say nothing of the worse famine of 1933 under Stalin. Closer to home, the Tuskegee syphilis experiment in which people were duped into not seeking antibiotic treatment for their illness strikes me as considerably more insidious than inflation.