The House Financial Services Committee has approved Rep. Ron Paul’s measure to drastically expand the government’s power to audit the Federal Reserve.This is precisely the kind of thing I'm talking about when I call for a tactical alliance of left and right in the interest of advancing populist measures.
The measure, based on a Paul proposal that has attracted more than 300 co-sponsors, passed, 43-26, as an amendment to a financial reform bill. Florida Democrat and fellow Fed critic Alan Grayson co-sponsored the amendment with Paul and played a leading role drumming up support for it among committee members. The adoption of this amendment is an extraordinary victory for Paul, whose libertarian, anti-Fed leanings have often been dismissed by the political establishment.
The House Financial Services Committee will vote on approving the underlying bill after Thanksgiving recess.
True, I oppose the extreme laissez faire economic philosophy of Paul and the libertarian tendency. He favors a system with severe restrictions upon the regulation and oversight of markets. By contrast, I favor a social democratic model that protects ordinary people against the inescapable perils of market activity.
But so what? The fact is that left- and right-populism share the interest of instituting democratic checks against powerful, and currently insular and unaccountable, monetary policy-making agencies. As the poet said: in politics, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and it has always been this way. I don't have to want to play cribbage with someone in order to share some or many of his political interests.