Even more than an anti-war warrior, Ron Paul is an inflation warrior. Fighting inflation by eliminating the Federal Reserve and returning to the gold standard has been the one constant in his four-decade-long political career. Indeed, one big reason he jumped into the current presidential race is because he believes that the Fed's loose monetary policy combined with Uncle Sam's trillion-dollar-plus stimulus profligacy is certain to produce a dollar catastrophe.
He noted last March:
"I think the wave of the future is inflation. It's just beginning—to the point that the dollar will be rejected as the reserve currency of the world. If there's a panic out of the dollar you will see the destruction of the dollar rather quickly. The end stages of a currency comes quickly." He continued, "We've seen this in Zimbabwe, Mexico and Central America. Today there's an illusion and false trust in our money."
In June he warned that inflation would "hit 50 percent."
In August he said: "inflation may get out of control."
But this morning Carpe Diem's Mark Perry, no Keynesian enthusiast, examined the latest CPI report and found that inflationary pressures were falling at the end of last year. Notes Perry:
- For the six month period ending July 2011, the annualized inflation rate for CPI: All Items was 4.1%, and that fell to only 1.8% for the six month period ending last month.
- For the three month period ending July 2011, the annualized inflation rate for "food at home" was 5.5% and for the three month period ending January 2012, the annualized inflation rate was only 1.0%. Bottom Line: Compared to last summer for the three and six month periods ending in July 2011, inflationary pressures fell significantly towards the end of last year and in the first month of 2012 for the three and six month periods ending in January. Inflation for food at home has fallen to only 1% (at an annual rate) for the November-January period.
Likewise, Daniel Hanson on the American Enterprise Institute's The Enterprise blog, no Keynesian shill, earlier this month presented a series of charts—including the one below—tracking money supply and core inflation and concluded that the relationship between how much money there is in an economy and how much things cost is not very easy to track because "price changes are influenced by many things other than the supply of money."
All of this raises this question: Is the runaway inflation that the good doctor has been worried about only a matter of time? Or has he misdiagnosed the corrosive effects that the twin cancers of out-of-control federal spending and over-easy monetary policy might produce on the body economicus?
Bonus Material: Paul Krugman on Paul's Monetary Madness here.