If the audience demographic at the Metals & Minerals Investment Conference in New York was that of the U.S. as a whole, former U.S. senator Ron Paul would be U.S. President today! He was given a standing ovation by much of the audience at the beginning and end of his presentation and his speech was peppered with applause from the floor as he made point after point of strong appeal to those listening.
Paul is not one of the world’s great orators, but he is an adequate one and his maverick libertarian views obviously find considerable support among the sector of mostly elderly relatively right wing people who invest in hard assets – and in gold and silver in particular. In Ron Paul they find someone they may not always agree with on all matters but who appears sincere in his beliefs and is of course almost unique among U.S. politicians as a believer in the place of gold in the modern day economy.
Paul says he is pessimistic about what is going on in Washington, but does feel that as the general public becomes more and more aware of the political machinations of both major parties there will be change. (He sees little real difference between the policies espoused by Republicans and Democrats – both of which he brands as religiously following Keynesian economics which in his view continues to cause long term damage to the system.) The Soviet system collapsed because it was a bad system he stated, with the implication that perhaps the U.S. system will do likewise – or at least see major alterations in the years ahead – although this may be somewhat wishful thinking given how embedded the existing system is.
However, one thing that Ron Paul recognised during his Republican Presidential nomination campaign was that the future would be the youth of the country and he did much of his speaking then on university campuses, and certainly did generate a considerable following at the young voter level. It is perhaps a question of whether there is anyone else out there with similar views who can continue this concentration on tomorrow’s voters.
He reiterated his long held viewpoint that the U.S. should get rid of the Federal Reserve system (considerable audience applause) which he feels has been responsible for many of the economic aliments affecting the U.S. economy. Excessive money printing, the housing bubble etc. – and then when it came to the crunch it was the wealthy who were bailed out at the expense of the middle classes who have seen savings income decimated through negative interest rates. As he sees it these policies have led to the shrinking of the middle classes with their wealth flowing to the already wealthy.
He also points to the undermining of personal liberties in the U.S. with the threat of terrorism being used as the excuse for what some would see as the implementation of a police state. And he sees U.S. foreign policy as perhaps the greatest threat in this respect through meddling in overseas affairs and getting involved in conflicts it cannot win in the long term (which in turn tend to lead to the terrorist threats). These mean less freedom for the individual and an erosion of wealth.
“People have the right to be left alone,” he says.
Indirectly he feels that all the above is, and will continue to be, positive for precious metals. He is known to be a gold investor, but is less worried about the price per se at this stage in the game, only with the number of ounces to hold.
Overall the thrust of his policies are ultimately for smaller government and the restoration of personal liberties, which he feels have been strongly eroded. In free society you should have the right to make your own mistakes – and thus eschews what we in the U.K. tend to refer to as the ‘nanny state’.
“Defend yourself financially, physically and your liberties as well” was his closing statement as the audience rose to its feet to applaud him out in the same way it applauded him in.