The LA Times’s Michael Hiltzik recently wrote a column slamming the GOP field in general and one of the two front-runners, Ted Cruz, in particular: The worst idea in the presidential debate: a return to the gold standard. Mr. Hiltzik thereby joins with a lot of usual suspects, like Paul Krugman and Larry Summers, in the ridicule-heaping ritual. Such conduct is unbecoming of him and his headline and conclusions are contradicted by a lot of reliable data.
There actually is abundant evidence that Ted Cruz’s proposal of the gold standard is the very best idea in the presidential debate so far and that Cruz is to be commended for it. There’s far more evidence for the goodness of gold than for considering it a bad idea. It certainly is not ridiculous. Let’s take a closer look.
Mr. Hiltzik, after his prerequisite preliminary orgy of ridicule, writes:
The gold standard is one of the few economic nostrums on which progressives and conservatives agree. Neither side likes it. Here, for example, is James Pethokoukis of the conservative American Enterprise Institute: “When GOP presidential candidates talk about the gold standard, I’m not sure if they’re serious or just signaling a certain segment of voters obsessed about inflation and the dangers of ‘fiat money.’ I sure hope they’re not serious and this is just campaign season silliness.”
The proposition is flat, factually, wrong that “The gold standard is one of the few economic nostrums on which progressives and conservatives agree.” Mr. Hiltzik cherry picked one — James Pethokoukis — of very, very, few conservatives who have been consistently hostile to the gold standard.
A few others have written occasional criticism of the gold standard but none have crusaded against it comparably to Pethokoukis. Pethokoukis is a conservative outlier in manning the anti-gold barricades along with left wing polemicists such as Paul Krugman.
The right predominantly supports, or at least appreciates, the gold standard. In addition to Ted Cruz’s direct advocacy presidential contenders Donald Trump, Rand Paul, Ben Carson and Mike Huckabee have made sympathetic statements. Jeb Bush has professed open-mindedness.
Ralph Benko, internationally published weekly columnist, co-author of The 21st Century Gold Standard, lead co-editor of the Gerald Malsbary translation from Latin to English of Copernicus’s Essay on Money, is American Principles Project’s Senior Advisor, Economics.