Goethe once said that "talent is hitting a target no one else can hit. Genius is hitting a target that no one else can see."
On Sept. 10, 2003, Ron Paul spoke to the House Financial Services Committee: "Despite the long-term damage to the economy inflicted by the government's interference in the housing market, the government's policy of diverting capital to other uses creates a short-term boom in housing.
"Like all artificially created bubbles, the boom in housing prices cannot last forever. When housing prices fall, homeowners will experience difficulty as their equity is wiped out. Furthermore, the holders of the mortgage debt will also have a loss. These losses will be greater than they would have otherwise been had government policy not actively encouraged over-investment in housing.
"Perhaps the Federal Reserve can stave off the day of reckoning by purchasing GSE debt and pumping liquidity into the housing market, but this cannot hold off the inevitable drop in the housing market forever. In fact, postponing the necessary, but painful market corrections will only deepen the inevitable fall. The more people invested in the market, the greater the effects across the economy when the bubble bursts."
It is only one moment of many where Ron Paul's warnings have come true.
Tumultuous times are the petri dish for great leaders. Lincoln, Chruchill, Ghandi. But there are also many tyrants.
When there are great economic downturns there is almost always political upheaval. And it is usually very dramatic. In the last great depression Germany turned to Hitler. There were thousands of World War I veterans who were jobless and they joined his SA.
The depression spawned communism and the emergence of the Soviet Union and eventually Stalin. It is hard to imagine a figure like Stalin coming to power in ordinary circumstances.
And is there that danger today? With the economic downturn today?
No question about it. We are in the second greatest depression in world history. And actually, in my opinion, I think a revolution of sorts has already happened here in the United States. The nationalization of banks. The dramatic transfer of wealth. The emergence of a ruling oligarchy that is growing fat while millions are losing their retirement funds and the value of their home properties. It is legalized corruption on a massive scale.
My wife is French and she pointed out to me that when Francois Mitterrand ran on a program of nationalizing the banks in France he was called a socialist. There was no shame in that. But when George W. Bush nationalized the banks, we called him a conservative Republican and we called it a bailout. And what has happened under Obama, in my opinion, could never have happened in our country without a major depression.
Some might say that "legalized corruption" is a little strong. But when history looks back and sees that the same year the bankers were bailed out under Bush they gave themselves $1.3 billion in bonuses. And when they see that the Obama's stimulus plan gave twice the amount of money to the counties that voted for him as those who voted against him and produced zero jobs. And when they see that the brokerage houses were dumping their bad stocks on the masses so their big clients could benefit — and nobody goes to jail — that is corruption.
So do we have a Churchill on the horizon today? And will America recognize him?
Well, yes and no. I don't want to be a pessimist here. But it took outside pressure and the death of 100 million people to topple Hitler. And the tyranny that came to power in the Soviet Union lasted for two generations and is ongoing in China as we speak. So there was no Winston Churchill to save them. And they represent half of the world's population.
So there is no guarantee that America will find its Winston Churchill in this current economic crisis. It can be argued that heroes are the exception and corruption is the rule.
Remember what made Churchill such a dramatic figure in history?
Being right on the issues of his time, and being alone, being pure in this thinking. That gave him a moral authority to rapidly change things when he came to power. In that sense, Winston Churchill was the Ron Paul of his time. He was a legislative pariah. Hated by both political parties.
At one time, the laughingstock of the press. Often voting alone on many issues in parliament but he was prophetic about what was coming and when the nation realized that all of their experts were wrong and Churchill had been right, they turned to him.
Doug Wead is a New York Times best-selling author and a former adviser to two American presidents. He is senior adviser to the Ron Paul campaign.
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