TCCIM-- Walter Edward Block (born 21 August 1941) is a free market economist and anarcho-capitalist associated with the Austrian School of economics. Here is an interveiew about "The US Economy and Next Presidential Election" with him that choosed form Mehrnameh Monthly:
Upon the recent events like economic crisis, recession, people losing homes, increasing unemployment and Wall Street Occupy Movement, how do you analyze the next election?
Reza, I fear you are very accurate in your assessment. The United States is now indeed in an economic crisis. I am not sure of whether to call it a recession or a depression. Certainly, it is the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Unemployment is very high, and underestimated by false government figures. Young black men in particular are suffering from astronomical unemployment rates.
The Occupy Movement knows that there is something seriously wrong with U.S. society, but is incapable of distinguishing between crony capitalism, where favored businesses are subsidized and bailed out by government, and laissez faire capitalism, where government is limited to defense of person and property right and contract. My analysis of the election of 2012 is that if Ron Paul becomes the next president, not only will the U.S. head into a peaceful and prosperous epoch, but so will the entire world follow us in this direction. If any of the other four win, we will have no change from present horrid conditions, both economically and militarily.
Do these problems arise from socialist wants?
Reza, I define socialism as excessive government ownership, and fascism as excessive government rules, regulations and control of the economy. So I interpret your question as asking about socialism-fascism, or, Big Government. I then answer, Yes, these problems do indeed arise from excessive government. The unemployment problem can be best explained Austrian Economics, the views of Mises, Hayek, Rothbard, and, yes, Ron Paul.
Here, the Fed artificially lowered interest rates which led entrepreneurs to misallocate resources in the direction of roundabout investments (housing and automobiles). HUD, Fannie and Freddie exacerbated matters regarding over building of residential units. The result is both high unemployment and a housing crisis, where many homeowners now find themselves “under water”: their mortgages are greater than the value of their houses. Instead of allowing the free enterprise system to bring us out of this morass, the Obama Administration is propping up wages and housing prices, thus lengthening and worsening the crisis.
We has a similar bust in 1921, but the Harding Administration allowed the market to work, and this recession was short and shallow. Only a President Paul would follow a laissez faire policy and allow us to benefit from the “magic of the market.”
How these events provoke the feeling of voters?
Reza, the electorate is profoundly unhappy with the political status quo. But, they are not supporting Ron Paul in droves, as they should be doing, as would be in their best interest. Why not? To a great degree, this is due to the mainstream media. They have made fun of Ron Paul, they have smeared him, they have tried to ignore him, and, at least in my own view, he has been victimized by the Republicans in terms of voter fraud, most recently in our state of Maine. But, Dr. Paul plows on despite these obstructions, gathering more and more very enthusiastic adherents.
Is it possible that a socialist can win the election?
Yes, it is all too possible. Right now, there are only five major candidates for the office of president: Barack Obama, New Gingrich, Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Ron Paul. The first four are all socialists – advocates of big government spending and involvement in the economy to varying degrees. Both Obama and Romney favor a version of socialized medicine: forcing people to pay for health insurance whether they wish to do so or not. Gingrich has rarely met a government program he doesn’t like, and is now ranting about renewing our space program, setting up a moon base at the cost of trillions of dollars. Santorum voted for the “bridge to nowhere” and as a Senator from Pennsylvania had a record as a big spender. Only Ron Paul stands apart from this socialist philosophy.
Can Obama and his semi-socialist slogans impress people and absorb their vote again?
Obama is a brilliant orator. Unfortunately, many voters are indeed all too likely to be taken in by his mellifluous voice, his wonderful timing as a speaker, his enthusiasm. In contrast, I must admit, Ron Paul is not as good a public speaker. On the other hand, when it comes to substance, I must reverse my evaluation of these two candidates. President Obama probably never had an original thought in his entire life; he mouths leftist shibboleths in bumper sticker style. He depends to a great degree upon a teleprompter that feeds him his lines.
In sharp contrast, Congressman Paul is an original thinker, and has made profound contributions to the theory of foreign policy, and to economics, particularly as regards the Federal Reserve System. I once hosted him at my Loyola University New Orleans, and thus stood behind him and somewhat to the side. He spoke for about 70 minutes straight without even notes on the podium. This was a magnificent display of extemporaneous speech-giving.
Is the next presidential election for social democrats or liberal democrat?
The next election will be between a socialist-fascist imperialist war-monger and an advocate of peace, a strong defense (not an offense), free enterprise, and limited government, if Ron Paul wins the Republican nomination. Otherwise, it will be between two socialist-fascist imperialist war-mongers, with very little substantive differences between them.
Tell us about the current economic status of America and people and the impact of the economy on these elections.
I hate to say this, but the election is not now the top news story, despite how crucially important it is for the well being of the masses of the people. Rating much higher were the Super Bowl (a football game where the Giants beat the Patriots), the successful athletic doings of Jeremy Lin, a Harvard graduate Asian-American member of the New York Knicks basketball team who was spurned by all the experts, and events of local interest such as Mardi-Gras in my home city of New Orleans.
However, the impact of the economy on the elections will be very important, in my estimation. This is in accordance with the popular slogan, “It’s the economy, stupid.” Quite possibly any of the Republicans, including Ron Paul, will be favored against President Obama in November, unless the economy improves significantly.
Last what should be economic program of the next state? On what challenges should the next state should focus?
The next administration should cut taxes and spending significantly, reduce the deficit, say, by $1 trillion in the first year, eliminate government departments, the Fed, regulations, ownership and control over the economy, bring all the troops home where they can defend the country, instead of attacking others that have not even threatened us, let alone have any power to defeat us, legalize drugs, etc. Come to think of it, this sounds rather like the Ron Paul platform.