In last night's CNN/Tea Party Republican debate, there was a moment which was a perfect microcosm of the Ron Paul experience. The moderator, Wolf Blitzer, asked 7 of the 8 candidates about their thoughts on the Federal Reserve. The one candidate they didn't ask was Ron Paul, which is very peculiar when you consider that Paul wrote a book about the Fed. While I disagree with just about everything Ron Paul supports, his ideas are different from his competitors, and by marginalizing his candidacy, the media are depriving Americans of an opportunity to think and learn about economics and the role of government.
It is utterly indefensible of Blitzer to not include Paul in the Fed discussion. Mitt Romney had even set up Paul's response by saying "We need to have a Fed... because if we don't have a Fed, who's gonna run the currency? Congress?! I'm not in favor of that." Had Blitzer then gone to Paul, I'm sure that he would have quoted Article 1, Section 8 of the Constitution, which says that Congress has the power "To coin Money, [and] regulate the Value thereof".
This is just one more example of the media's anti-Paul bias, which I think is due to his being the most anti-corporate candidate in the race. Despite having solid backing among Republican primary voters and his close second-place finish at the Iowa straw poll, he is marginalized as a non-contender. Doing so elevates the ideas and policies of dunces like Rick Perry and Michele Bachmann to the center of these debates, instead of the more interesting (but ultimately wrong) ideas of Paul.
He favors a gold standard, which would fix the value of the dollar to the value of gold. The US was on the gold standard until 1971, when it was ended by Richard Nixon. Returning to the gold standard today, as well as going to a full-reserve banking system that Paul and other Austrians support, would cause massive deflation. By limiting the supply of dollars and requiring banks to hold more of them in reserve, the value of the dollar will increase significantly. For people (like me) with student loans, or a 30 year mortgage, or any other debt, which becomes harder to pay back when each dollar is more valuable, a Ron Paul presidency would be a disaster.
It wouldn't only be a disaster for debtors. As discussed in a previous post, much of the reason for the current poor state of the economy is due to less consumer spending, as people are saving more to make up for the lost value of their homes. Deflation, by making people's mortgages and other debts larger in real terms, would have a similar effect, further driving down consumer spending and worsening the economy.
I've previously discussed the refusal of some to accept that there are some spheres, such as limiting health care costs, where government programs might be better than the private market. Paul has never met a government program he wouldn't cut/eliminate. He has such a limited view of federal power that he opposes mandates in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that desegregated restaurants/hotels/etc.
While Ron Paul's ideas are frequently wrong and/or harmful, he has enough support that his ideas deserve more attention than they're getting. Hopefully in future debates and media coverage, he'll have more of a chance to share his ideas, rather than the media deciding which ideas merit consideration.