Gold Standard 2012?

The group American Principles in Action have begun a movement to reinstate interest in the gold standard all throughout America. Leaders argue that the paper based system is bankrupt and that if enough people voice their opinions, then lawmakers are going to have to respond.

June 15, 2011
Posted by Ben Smith 12:02 PM

A veteran conservative movement figure said today his group is launching a television ad and retail campaign in Iowa aimed at drumming up grassroots intrest in a return to the gold standard.

Jeffrey Bell, a former Reagan aide and conservative author, said the group American Principles in Action (of which he's policy director) hopes to use Tea Party members' interest in an issue that seemed to have faded decades ago to drive it back onto the agenda of Republican presidential candidates.

His organization conducted focus groups on the issue in the Midwest last year, and "the Tea Party response was astonishing."

"If the thing bubbles up, the candidates are going to have to respond and move closer to our position, which is that the paper-based system is bankrupt, has run its course, and we have to have honest money again," he said.

Arguments over the gold standard date back more than a century, and their ideological charge is linked in part to the fact that making dollars convertible to gold would in theory limit the government's capacity to act in the economy. The idea hasn't been embraced by major figures in either party for years, though the Wall Street Journal has maintained conservative interet in versions of it.

Bell complained that while some Republicans pay lip service to the idea, few seem to have really engaged it.

"It’s something like motherhod for some of the conservative candidates, but they don’t know enough about it to know what their position is" he said.

The push comes amid a (relative) surge of national interest in what had been seen as exotic economic policies. Utah recently became the first state to recognize gold and silver U.S. Mint coins as legal tender, and more than a dozen other states are considering similar bills or alternative currency plans.

Bell's currently in the coure of a 19-stop bus tour through Iowa, ending July 2. Gary Johnson has already stopped by, and Bell said he's had interest from four other candidates.

Ron Paul, of course, has long supported abolishing the Federal Reserve and establishing a gold-back dollar, though his plans stop short of a full return to the gold standard. And Herman Cain said he supported examining the idea.

"If we go back to the gold standard, it prohibits the federal reserve from inflating the currency like they've done over the past few years," Cain told POLITICO's Juana Summers recently.

(with Byron Tau)
Posted by Ben Smith 12:02 PM

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