A return to the gold standard by the United States within the next five years now seems likely, because that move would help the nation solve a variety of economic, fiscal, and monetary ills, Steve Forbes predicted during an exclusive interview this week with HUMAN EVENTS.
“What seems astonishing today could become conventional wisdom in a short period of time,” Forbes said.
Such a move would help to stabilize the value of the dollar, restore confidence among foreign investors in U.S. government bonds, and discourage reckless federal spending, the media mogul and former presidential candidate said. The United States used gold as the basis for valuing the U.S. dollar successfully for roughly 180 years before President Richard Nixon embarked upon an experiment to end the practice in the 1970s that has contributed to a number of woes that the country is suffering from now, Forbes added.
If the gold standard had been in place in recent years, the value of the U.S. dollar would not have weakened as it has and excessive federal spending would have been curbed, Forbes told HUMAN EVENTS. The constantly changing value of the U.S. dollar leads to marketplace uncertainty and consequently spurs speculation in commodity investing as a hedge against inflation.
The only probable 2012 U.S. presidential candidate who has championed a return to the gold standard so far is Rep. Ron Paul (R.-Tex.). But the idea “makes too much sense” not to gain popularity as the U.S. economy struggles to create jobs, recover from a housing bubble induced by the Federal Reserve’s easy-money policies, stop rising gasoline prices, and restore fiscal responsibility to U.S. government’s budget, Forbes insisted.
With a stable currency, it is “much harder” for governments to borrow excessively, Forbes said. Without lax Federal Reserve System monetary policies that led to the printing of too much money, the housing bubble would not have been nearly as severe, he added.
“When it comes to exchange rates and monetary policy, people often don’t grasp” what is at stake for the economy, Forbes said. By restoring the gold standard, the United States would shift away from “less responsible policies” and toward a stronger dollar and a stronger America, he said. “If the dollar was as good as gold, other countries would want to buy it.”
An encouraging sign for Forbes is that key lawmakers besides Rep. Paul are recognizing that the Fed is straying well beyond its intended role of promoting stable prices and full employment with its monetary policies.
Forbes cited Rep. Paul Ryan (R.-Wis.), who, he believes, understands monetary policy better than most lawmakers and has shown a willingness to ask tough but necessary questions. For example, when Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke appeared before the House Budget Committee in February, Ryan, who chairs the panel, asked Bernanke bluntly how many jobs the Fed’s quantitative-easing program had helped to create.
Politicians need to “get over” the notion that the Fed can guide the economy with monetary policy. The Fed is like a “bull in a China shop," Forbes said. “It can’t help but knock things down.”
“People know that something is wrong with the dollar," Forbes concluded. "You cannot trash your money without repercussions.”