Congressman Ron Paul: Gold Standard Advocate

In this interview, Congressman Ron Paul discusses why he believes paper-based currency has undermined the U.S. economy and why a return to the gold standard would resolve many of today's economic problems.

| March/April 1983

  • Congressman Ron Paul - head and shoulders with capitol dome in background
    Congressman Ron Paul believes returning to hard currency based on the gold standard will lead the country out of its woes.
    Photo by MOTHER EARTH NEWS Staff
  • Congressman Ron Paul - full page view
    Ron Paul has been a member of congress since 1975.

  • Congressman Ron Paul - head and shoulders with capitol dome in background
  • Congressman Ron Paul - full page view

As this issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS approaches deadline, over 12 million men and women in the United States are unemployed, and our cities are filled with thousands of homeless, hungry people. As of the end of 1982, production had dropped for 17 months in a row, the longest consecutive fall since the Great Depression. Our national debt has exceeded $1 trillion. Furthermore, such tragedies are compounded by the $850 billion in loans owed by eastern-bloc Communist and Third World nations — which, if not repaid, could cause some of our nation's biggest banks and perhaps even the international banking system itself to collapse. And all this is happening in a country that just a short time ago had the world's highest living standard and strongest economy.

The blame for this disastrous state of affairs has been laid at many doors. OPEC, the World Bank, Japanese imports, high interest rates, Reaganomics, and so on. But four-term Congressman Ron Paul, a member of the House Banking Committee, has been predicting our present economic chaos for years. He believes these "causes" are just symptoms of a much greater evil and claims to have a solution to our fiscal woes: the gold standard.

Recently, staffer Sara Pacher went to Washington, D. C. to talk to the Congressman. He is a gracious and articulate doctor who studied internal medicine at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh; served as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force; and has a private medical practice in Lake Jackson, Texas, where he lives with his wife Carol and their five children.

After spending a few hours with this advocate of individual freedom and sound currency, Sara concluded that it's probably no coincidence that "In God We Trust" first appeared on American money in 1864, at the end of the Civil War — which was another period in our history when the government tried to pass off worthless "greenbacks" as valuable currency.

PLOWBOY: Most Americans are aware — many because the truth has touched their very lives — that our economy is facing its worst crisis in 50 years. Just how did we manage to get into such a mess?

PAUL: Well, in some ways, the story is a complicated one, but a major factor in our economic downfall — if not the most influential — has been the deliberate destruction of our money. You simply cannot have a healthy economy without a sound currency. Consider, if you will, how difficult it would be to build a house if your yardstick were to change its length each day: Can you imagine what kind of structure would result if a carpenter used a "standard" measure that was 16" one day, 32" the next, then 56", then 43"? And that's essentially what we're trying to do: run an economy using a value measurement that continually fluctuates.

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