From: Financial Times, Believer in small government predicts 15-year depression, March 22 2009
Unfortunately, cashing out will not protect the value of investments, he [Congressman Ron Paul] insists, because “fiat” currencies will all decline over the coming years as measures to try to haul the world economy out of recession fail. “The current stimulus measures are making things a lot worse,” says Mr Paul.
“The US government just won’t allow the correction the economy needs.” He cites the mini-depression of 1921, which lasted just a year largely because insolvent companies were allowed to fail. “No one remembers that one. They’ll remember this one, because it will last 15 years.”
At some stage – Mr Paul estimates it will be between one and four years – the dollar will implode. “The dollar as a reserve standard is done,” he says. …
A deep recession had only been avoided up until now because of the efforts of successive governments to reflate the economy. But there are no more policy levers left, says Mr Paul. “This is the big one.”
Unsurprisingly, Mr Paul has been viewed as a crank in Washington, dismissed as a doomsayer and a party-pooper. His bill early this year to abolish the Federal Reserve was largely ignored. And his adherence to the Austrian School of economics, which predicted that fiat currencies would destabilise the world economy, has won him few friends.
“People don’t like the Austrians because they are against big government, against armies and against the welfare state. To accept Austrian economics, you have to accept limitations of credit expansion and that is what has kept the government and financial firms in business for so long.”
However, his views are, for the first time, being taken seriously in Washington. Like another politician who recently aimed for high office, Al Gore, Mr Paul’s uncomfortable truths are starting to be deliberated at elevated political levels. “Before last summer, in meetings nobody really knew I was there. Now they often defer to me on economic matters. But you won’t catch any of them admitting that publicly – not yet at least.”
He believes that markets will fall much further and inflation rise much higher before his fellow politicians recognise that the system has failed. “We are likely to see an inflation depression,” Mr Paul says.
“In the 1970s, we had stagflation, but not depression. Inflation depression is what you see in Zimbabwe.”