Happy New Year, all! And what a year 2015 was – and one that I’m glad to see go. Rand Paul probably is as well, considering his ongoing presidential flame-out, but he’s starting 2016 off with some champagne and resolutions.
Rand’s New Year Resolutions
Rand is never one to miss an opportunity on social media, and the #NewYearsResolutions tag on Twiter provided a nice platform for Rand to make some media magic. Some were tongue in cheek (like his Tweet about making bombastic and vague statements like his competition) and some were pointedly direct shots at rivals.
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 1, 2016
He also got in something to help libertarians forget his transgressions over the past year.
This year my resolution is to preserve our liberties and restore prosperity across America. #NewYearResolution
— Dr. Rand Paul (@RandPaul) January 1, 2016
More of his New Year tweets can be viewed here.
My problem with Rand’s resolutions is that they don’t resolve to do anything different from what he’s been doing, which is underwhelming both his libertarian backers and the general voting populace. And isn’t the point of a New Years Resolution to make a change in one’s life? I’d like to see a #NewYearsResolution from #Randypants that expresses his desire to more fully champion principles of individual liberty and to stop trying to woo the GOP establishment, which will never accept him.
Jabbing at rivals is all well and good and we can all have a good laugh, but if all it’s doing is epitomizing a social media vaudeville routine while the campaign stalls due to a crisis of principle, what was the point?
Starting the new year off with a black mark.
Rand SuperPac reserves $500,000 in Iowa ad space
PurplePAC, a super PAC overseen by longtime libertarian activist and Cato Institute co-founder Ed Crane, has reserved roughly $500,000 in television time in Des Moines and Cedar Rapids in the final two weeks ahead of the Iowa caucuses, according to a media buyer and records with the Federal Communications Commission.
Rand is going in hard in Iowa (and presumably in NH as well) – it’s literally make or break time, and despite his many detractors among the political pundits, there’s no quit in him yet.
Paul supports changes to federal land “ownership” but can’t support Oregon rancher occupation
The Washington Post has a piece out today highlighting stances on the newest Bundy-related ranch showdown from several GOP presidential candidates, including Ted Cruz, Rand and Marco Rubio. Cruz and Paul made the headline. Suck it, Rubio! Both advocated for a peaceful resolution to the situation, in which armed Oregon ranchers occupied an empty Malheur National Wildlife Refuge outpost over the holidays in protest of the (wrongful) extension of federal prison terms for two ranchers convicted of arson. They are insisting on staying there (armed) until the two ranchers are released.
“I’m sympathetic to the idea that the large collection of federal lands ought to be turned back to the states and the people, but I think the best way to bring about change is through politics,” Paul told the Washington Post in an interview. “That’s why I entered the electoral arena. I don’t support any violence or suggestion of violence toward changing policy.”
Rand’s response is correct here. I can see some libertarians getting behind Bundy whole-heartedly, and I myself agree both that the extended prison sentence and massive federal land ownership is wrong, but taking up arms and occupying federal buildings here is counterproductive.
Violence, or the threat of violence, which the occupiers have stated is an option should police try to remove them, should be used as a last resort – not a first volley in an effort to elicit meaningful change. All this will do is provide kindling for the already prevalent references to this as “domestic terrorism” and turn people against those who tout the Constitution as justification for this type of action.
Rand explains why the Federal Reserve needs to be audited
Paul explaining to neophytes of economics exactly why the Fed needs auditing may strike some as a waste of time, but in actuality, the vast majority of Americans are so ignorant of the bare basics that it can’t be discussed enough. Just look to the massive support Bernie Sanders’ economic braggadocio garners for a perfect example of just how economically clueless the populace is.
Thus, I’m happy to see Rand’s column in Business Insider breaking down exactly that, even though your average American isn’t likely to read it. Hopefully we can get one of these in “Highlights” magazine to reach the Sanders supporters. Some excerpts:
Former Federal Reserve Governor Kevin Warsh refers to the Fed’s easy-money policies as the reverse Robin Hood effect. “If you have access to credit—if you’ve got a big balance sheet—the Fed has made you richer,” he said in an interview. “This is a way to make the well-to-do even more well-to-do.”
The reason for this is simple: big banks, corporations, and government entities receive the Fed’s newly-created money long before anyone else, and they bid up the prices of goods before the rest of us can get to purchasing them.
The side effect of this uneven distribution of money is painfully apparent to many at the grocery store. Over the past 15 years, the price of white bread has increased by over 50 percent, while the price of eggs has more than doubled. As a more conservative-sounding Texas Senator pointed out in the October GOP debate, the cost of ground beef and electricity have also appreciated significantly, by 115 percent and 60 percent respectively.
This tactic worked remarkably well for us during the 1920-1921 depression. Then, the Federal Reserve recognized that it inflated too much and for too long. The Fed proceeded to promptly correct its mistakes by decreasing the money supply to raise interest rates. While there was some short-term pain, the crisis was over in no time at all.
Contrast this approach to how Senator Cruz would have handled the Great Recession of 2008. After artificially low interest rates led millions of individuals to overinvest and overproduce in the housing industry, Senator Cruz would have cut rates to zero percent even faster—a recipe for creating more wide-scale malinvestment in other areas.
Again, Business Insider isn’t the best home for this – many of those who read it will be the beneficiaries of the Fed’s existing policies – but sharing is caring, and maybe it will have some legs.
Let’s start a new ticker for 2016.
2016 RPM Tally: 3 Pauluses / 1 Minuses
2015 RPM Total: 145 Pauluses / 44 Minuses / 11 Push
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