One of the most exciting features of the new Congress is the prospect that the chairmanship of a House subcommittee that oversees the Federal Reserve will go to Ron Paul. Final assignments are still being worked out, and the leadership may yet shy away from giving the position to a congressman who doesn't believe the Fed should exist. But Dr. Paul, an obstetrician, has been the ranking Republican of the Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology subcommittee, and tradition suggests he will be the next chairman.That quote from Greenspan is interesting for two reasons. First, gold bugs think his tenure at the Fed was something of a disaster for monetary policy. And, second, Greenspan wrote a pro-gold essay back in the 60's.
More far-reaching still is the prospect that Dr. Paul might use the committee to open up the deepest monetary issues, pressing for audits of America's gold holdings and of the Fed itself. At one point this week, the congressman's book, "End the Fed," ranked No. 2 on Amazon's list of the best-selling business books dealing with money and monetary policy, ahead of volumes by such luminaries of the right and left as Milton Friedman, George Soros and John Maynard Keynes himself.
Most exciting is the prospect that Dr. Paul will be able to bring into the national conversation such figures as, say, Edwin Vieira Jr., the visionary lawyer who has become the sage of the idea of constitutional money. That's a reference to the unit of account to which the Founders were referring when they twice used the word "dollars" in the Constitution, and which they codified in the Coinage Act of 1792 as 371¼ grains of pure silver, the same as in a then-ubiquitous coin known as the Spanish Milled Dollar, or its free-market equivalent in gold.
If Dr. Paul does accede to the chairmanship of the monetary subcommittee, he will, in but a few months, gavel it to order on the 40th anniversary of the summer in which President Nixon closed the gold window and brought an end to Bretton Woods. Yet a few weeks ago, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan himself, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations, warned that "fiat money has no place to go but gold." Even the president of the World Bank, Robert Zoellick, has just called for restoring a role for gold in the monetary system.
The great debate is finally starting up again. Who better to host it in Congress than the diminutive doctor who, more faithfully than anyone else on the Hill, has for more than a generation stood for the idea of sound money?
You might want to show your support for Ron Paul or simply help get out the "audit the Fed" message this weekend. End the Fed rallies are being held across the county including one here in St. Louis.