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angusthermopylae (38.61)

Ron Paul for Treasury?



November 19, 2008 – Comments (22) | RELATED TICKERS: C , GS

Ok, I'm just blue-skying here, but "what if" Prez-Elect Obama were to ask Ron Paul to act as Treasury Secretary?

Some thoughts:

--He's a Republican.  Not only that, but he's a Republican primary candidate who the rest of the contenders basically hated, mostly for his repeated statements about where the economy was headed (which pretty much were dead on).  You've got a win-win for the Obama camp:  "Across the aisle" with a guy who's been beaten up by the rest of the Republican establishment.  Talking about having your cake and eating it too:  Obama would be able to use the terms "Uniter" without becoming a caricature while lobbing a grenade into the middle of the RNC.

--He's a policy guy, not a banker.  This is important because Paul wouldn't have any "former associates" in the banking industry to cover for, sympathize with, or protect.  Paulson, on the other hand, can't escape the whiff of insider-ism in everything he's doing.  Questions like "Why isn't the bailout being used as originally planned?" and "Why can't we get a clear picture of who's getting the money and who's being turned down?" may have a reasonable answer, but the overall tone of Cover-Your-Buddy's-Ass can't be ignored.

    Forgive my ignorance, but I thought that the purpose of a senior executive-type was not to make every decision that came into the office, but to set and adjust policy.  Maybe it's just me, but it sounds like Paulson has been up to his elbows in the decisions about who get's what and who doesn't.  In my humble opinion, Paulson has asked for carte-blanche for himself and has been using it.  Perhaps his exerience is helpful, but having the top Treasury guy make all the decisions would explain why suddenly he's having to justify past decisions instead of publishing the standards and reporting on how it did or did not work.

--He's a Republican.  This is worth repeating for a different reason.  If the Obama administration is going to get anything they want done (or do anything without screwing up the situation worse) they need something other than another member of the choir.  I would like to believe that a Ron Paul Treasury department would not only tell the President he had no clothes, but how to get clothes for the best price and how long it would take to pay them off.

--Convergent ideas.  Iraq War:  Obama against; Paul against.  Economic disaster looming:  Obama warned; Paul warned.  Fix Bush/Cheney damage to foreign relations:  Obama for, Paul for.

I know, I know...this isn't a political site.  However, I would argue two things.  First, politics affects economics, and economics affect politics.  It doesn't matter if you (personally) blame the banking industry, international relations, government oversite (or lack thereof), or the Iraq War.  Almost every possible cause of the economic downturn has a political aspect, usually in why an action was or wasn't taken.

The second thing is that using the "fantasy football" method to discuss Paul as Treasury Secretary is a good way to start analyzing whoever Obama does pick.

So let's have it.  The good, bad, and ugly on why (not) Ron Paul for Treasury.

22 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 19, 2008 at 3:23 PM, OleDrippy (< 20) wrote:

He would be great, but our new president isn't a fan of "idealogues", which Ron Paul is, by representing the "ideals" of the constitution.

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#2) On November 19, 2008 at 3:29 PM, TDRH (97.16) wrote:

If Ron is smart, which I believe he is, he will stay out of the loop.   This economic cycle will bury the next administration.  It makes me wonder why anyone would want to be president.

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#3) On November 19, 2008 at 5:55 PM, angusthermopylae (38.61) wrote:

Good point, OleDrippy.  A political junkie friend of mine believes that Obama will surprise his own party (Pelosi and Reid) by being a lot more centric than they want.

You and TDRH both have a point--I don't think Ron would take the job.  It would mean he'd be setting a 4 year time limit (could be 8...) on his political career....possible shorter.He'd give up being a representative of his district to jump on board a one-way train.  Good if you have aspirations, or want to finish with a bang, but bad if you're a Believer(tm) in what you do.

What about policies?  For the sake of argument, would there be any way that an Obama administration could work with a Treasury department under Paul?

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#4) On November 19, 2008 at 5:55 PM, FlyingComic (< 20) wrote:

Dude, I had to clean my pants at the thought of this.

Now I'm going to go smoke a cigarette.

Since Ron Paul is about the only guy in Washington who has a chance at turning this mess around, that would make Obama truly look like a great president (which is why it won't happen).  Decisive action now in the Ron Paul way to true monetary fiducial stability will only cause a year or two of hardship (and it will be a lot of hardship -- there's a lot of correction that has to take place).  The typical liberal/neocon meddling solutions will cause the crisis to drag out for years -- maybe decades.

Ron Paul might be Obama's only chance at a second term.  Great idea! 

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#5) On November 19, 2008 at 6:04 PM, XMFCrocoStimpy (97.49) wrote:

I'd like to hear some substance from people in the know about Ron Paul (AresFinancial, are you here?) in regards to what you would envision him actually doing to "fix this mess".  One of his stronger opinions that stands out is calling for abolishing the federal reserve - literally.  So exactly what do you think he would do as the head of the treasury that would steer the economy onto stabler ground?  I have little knowledge about the specifics of Ron Pauls ideas, and sincerely wish to know.


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#6) On November 19, 2008 at 7:07 PM, biotechmgr (< 20) wrote:

I would love to dream it, but TDRH nailed it. Those who stand aside this train wreck, stand to gain much in 4 years. I am not sure anyone can really fix or even mitigate the great tbubble economy collapse. It must deflate of its own accord, then someone smart can pick up the pieces. Ron Paul would be in great position when the USD collapses and people are crying out hard currency or gold standard.


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#7) On November 19, 2008 at 7:56 PM, ClamChowder26 (60.28) wrote:

I don't care if he does it as a joke, it's a test balloon he should fly.

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#8) On November 19, 2008 at 8:29 PM, escapinggreatly (< 20) wrote:

Tracking back, because our Trackback feature isn't working at the moment:

 "Can anyone save us from a Mad Max-like future in which desperately poor Americans try to survive by growing their own food with electrolytes (which, if you didn't know, are what plants crave)? Well, the Motley Fool has one idea - Ron Paul for Secretary of the Treasury."

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#9) On November 19, 2008 at 9:06 PM, larethdf (< 20) wrote:

Xander:  I can think of several things that Ron Paul could certainly do as Treasury Secretary, and many more that he would probably like to do, but would be prevented from doing.  I am basing all of this on my extensive reading of his speeches and writings, and his ridiculously consistent record.  The best source is probably . I have to extrapolate some, because Ron Paul's policy positions tend to be very specific to the job that he's assuming, whether Representative for TX14 or Presidential candidate.  I don't think he's ever directly discussed what he would do if he were Treasury Secretary specifically, so keep that in mind.


1. He would insist on balancing the budget at every cabinet meeting.  He would likely not get his way, but his sheer persistence would hopefully reduce the yearly deficit over time if he's actually allowed to speak his mind.

2. He would refuse to spend taxpayer money bailing out private business.

3. He investigate and put restrictions on the Federal Reserve's methods and powers.

4. He would attempt to launch a competing currency directly from the US Mint, backed by gold and or/silver, much like Kennedy's famous silver certificates.  I've actually got one of those from 1935. They are worth maybe $2 today for crummy-looking ones.  Not bad when you think about it.

5. He would encourage legalization of private money, as long as it was backed by gold or silver.

6. If the alternate currency proved viable (history suggests it would do quite well), he would try to get the Federal Reserve phased out, and likely fail.

7. He would strongly oppose overseas spending except for the Navy, diplomatic necessities, and trade facilitation.  He would at least have a chilling effect on military spending in the end.

8. He would attempt to reduce the number of exectutive branch regulations that he had any power over.

9. He would cut excess staff and waste from Treasury gleefullly.

10. He would launch massive internal investigations in an attempt to root out fraud and corruption within Treasury.

11. He would insist on transparency and issue constant public statements about what exactly he was doing and why.

12. He would be a polite, congenial, tireless, gigantic pain in the ass, and Obama would probably hate him for it.  Most of the people would love him for it.

I'd expect that in the unlkely event that Obama asks Ron Paul to do the job, that Dr. Paul will refuse him unless Obama swears up and down that he will be allowed ot do the job his way.  He would probably ending up resigning within 2 years if he did it.  It seems more likely that Ron Paul would rather let Obama hang himself and run against him in 2012.  He'd stand a much better chance of getting the nomination and winning with that job under his belt, however, and Obama has to know that.

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#10) On November 19, 2008 at 10:38 PM, LibertarianMikeM (< 20) wrote:

Where did the author of this article get this idea?  We at had original commentary with the exact same subject...

I guess it's not rocket science to think of such an idea. :-)




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#11) On November 19, 2008 at 10:44 PM, LibertarianMikeM (< 20) wrote:

Ooops, I meant this article...sorry...



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#12) On November 20, 2008 at 1:30 AM, MacFoolio (< 20) wrote:

Ron is not an option. He will not stand for the bailouts so boisterously supported by Obama and his buddies.

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#13) On November 20, 2008 at 7:59 AM, angusthermopylae (38.61) wrote:

larethdf MacFoolio

I think that matches up pretty well with his stated views.  From the sound of it, Paul as Treasury would probably be for a rough ride for the Obama administration, unless they were willing to take the criticism from within their own administration.  As much as I preferred Obama over McCain (for reasons other than economic), I don't think he'd want that.

(Sad, actually.  It seems like every president makes a speech about representing everyone, even those who opposed him, but they never take the step of putting the smart opposition in jobs that might do the country good.)


Honestly, I hadn't seen anyone else put up the idea (but I wasn't looking.)  Sounds like it's not completely out of left (no pun intended) field.


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#14) On November 20, 2008 at 8:24 AM, apismellifera (70.50) wrote:

The similarities you mentioned (their opposition to the Iraq war, and warnings about the economy) are coincidental-- Obama and Paul don't share much in terms of an overall world-view.  Think "huge culture clash" if Ron Paul were part of the Obama team. Most important, I think, is that Ron Paul would want no part of a Keynesian attempt at a solution.  And that's the route that an Obama administration is going to take..

I voted for RP in a primary, mostly out of gratitude for his willingness to speak honsetly about the war.  But I thik that Libertarians share something with Communists:  they are both most effective in the loyal opposition, not in power.  


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#15) On November 20, 2008 at 9:50 AM, NinerSevenTango (< 20) wrote:

Ron Paul wouldn't take the job, and Obama wouldn't have him.

Ron Paul wouldn't take the job because it would require him to be an enabler of multiple crimes against the constitution and humanity, and because he would certainly be thwarted in his attempt to restore constitutional, stable money.

Obama wouldn't have him because Ron Paul's attempt to restore constitutional money would require slashing government spending to 1/3 present levels or less, meaning that the torrent of free paper money that buys all that unconstitutional power (and votes) would dry up overnight.  Besides, Ron Paul stands unalterably on the side of individual rights, which is radioactive poison to the group-rights fabian socialists.  Given a platform to speak, Ron Paul would reveal the status quo to be intellectually, morally, and literally bankrupt.

No, the status quo will continue to wipe out the wealth of our nation until nothing but ashes are left, and the people are too destitute to mount any realistic effort to regain their property rights.

Sorry.  That's what our nation of beggars, thieves, and bullies wants.



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#16) On November 20, 2008 at 10:34 AM, anna12345 (< 20) wrote:



Ron Paul would never be selected for anything to do with the economy.  He would defeat their purpose of destroying our economy.  Get real!

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#17) On November 20, 2008 at 11:33 AM, ocsurf (< 20) wrote:

I'd love to sit down and have a beer with Ron Paul....

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#18) On November 20, 2008 at 11:55 AM, OhYou (< 20) wrote:

Soooo the B in "BATFE" could stand for "bye-bye"?


Lovin it.

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#19) On November 20, 2008 at 5:34 PM, LovePaul (< 20) wrote:

Could we just end the latest form of Mental Masturbation for Paulites?  This is the dumbest idea to surface of late again.  This idea first circulated last June when Paul pretty much dropped out of the race. 

It once again exposes the ignorance out there of both Dr. Paul and how things work in the real world vs the minds of some of his supporters.

First of Dr. Paul would never take the job if offered.  As he knows he would be bound to follow laws that violate his principles.  2) He never make it through the vetting process as he would inform Obama that he could not carry out Presidential directives that violate his principles. 3) The Treasury Secretary is bound to follow the law.  He has no choice but to implement the various bailouts directed at the Treasury and as passed by Congress.  If he attempted to do anything other than follow Presidential directives and the Law he would be fired in a heartbeat.

Would you people please wake up and smell the coffee, for Pete's sake?


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#20) On November 20, 2008 at 8:26 PM, angusthermopylae (38.61) wrote:

I would like to thank everyone for their answers.  It's been an enlightening, that's for sure.

I posted this question for two reasons:

     1)  I really like Ron Paul, and I believe that his thoughts about how the economy does and doesn't work are very detailed and have mostly proven true.

Just liking a guy (or being sympathetic to his statements) doesn't mean that he should have a particular job, though. I'm not an economist (a la McCain), and I wouldn't know where to begin to fill in all the reasons for or against a Treasury position for Ron Paul.  This brings me to my second reason.

     2)  A lot of people on this site have posted commentary, video, and news articles supporting Ron Paul.  I thought that a financial site like CAPS with a lot of Paul supporters might be able to fill in the blanks.  And, as I originally said, this would be a good springboard to start checking out the guy that the Obama administration does  put in that position.  There have been a lot of inflation/deflation debates, as well as pro-Keynes, pro-Friedman, and free-market comments.  Since it may be a while before we find out who gets the Treasury job, guessing how someone (fairly) popular here would perform would give us a baseline to compare the eventual pick against.

There have been some good pointers.  Alas, I'm starting to feel like the girl who did the campaign t-shirt experiment. With the help of a few links in the commentary, I see that this topic has been explored before...heatedly and repeatedly.  Heck, even the NY Times has people suggesting Paul in today's survey.

So, the major lessons I've learned are these:

A.  Ron Paul would never take the job.  Apparently, if Barack Obama and Ron Paul were to  meet for a discussion of the economy, they would cancel each other out in an explosion of pure energy...or maybe a knife fight to the death...or attack each other with sharks with lasers on their heads.

Apparently, I'm going to be smoking a turd in hell for suggesting such a thing.

B.  Politics and economics may be related, but it's not something to ask lightly, or even seriously...not unless you are ready for people to attack the question.

C.  I need to get out more.

Thanks, folks.  It's been fun.

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#21) On November 20, 2008 at 10:44 PM, kingofthepaupers (< 20) wrote:

Though I love everything about Ron Paul except his preoccupation with yellow rock, he thinks there's already too much money chasing goods, Shift A inflation, and doesn't realize it's Shift B inflation, same money chasing less goods after foreclosure.

Check Google video for Shift B inflation.

 The best thing is that he could probably find the truth faster than those who aren't even looking near the right direction.


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#22) On November 21, 2008 at 1:17 AM, rainydaypatriot (< 20) wrote:

Well they do say actions speak louder than words!  It would be a lot harder to call Obama a socialist if he called on Ron Paul to be his treasury secretary!   But Ron Paul doesn't cut deals, trade votes, or support using our treasury to support police-the-world central planning efforts from groups like the CFR and the UN.  So I have a hard time believing he would even make the list.  The Democrats can play by their own rules now, and change the rules as they go.  Any across-the-aisle appointment being extended to someone like Ron Paul who actually wants to be constrained by the Constitution, preserve national sovereignty, and restore freedom to the markets would really surprise me. 

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