Thursday, May 12, 2011

Steve Forbes Predicts a Return to the Gold Standard

American Gold Eagle
Image via Wikipedia
A return to the gold standard by the United States within the next five years now seems likely, because that move would help the nation solve a variety of economic, fiscal, and monetary ills, Steve Forbes predicted during an exclusive interview this week with HUMAN EVENTS.
I'm sympathetic to the idea of returning to the gold standard, but I'm not fully on board with the idea. I don't think that supporters of the gold standard fully understand the legislative and societal impacts it would have.
Americans expect their incomes to always go up. One problem with the gold standard is that wages (and prices) tend to fall. I don't think the average American is mentally prepared for declining income. Sure, it's just their nominal income that would be decreasing. In most cases, prices would be falling even faster, so their real income would be increasing in a purchasing power sense. Nonetheless, a return to the gold standard and its declining nominal incomes creates an inevitable day of reckoning with the always increasing minimum wage. It seems to me that minimum wage laws would have to repealed. Perhaps not immediately, but eventually.

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