Rand Paul Not So Good With Numbers

March 8, 2012 - Washington, District of Columbia, U.S. - Senator RAND PAUL (R-KY) during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Thursday where he announced an alternative 2013 budget proposal that Republicans plan to introduce in the Senate. (Credit Image: ? Pete Marovich/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Let's see ... carry the five ... can I please have a calculator?

Josh Green asks Rand Paul about his rather extreme budget proposal, and Paul replies that it's necessary because the only alternative is Trillion-Dollar Deficits As Far As the Eye Can See:

You know, the thing is, people want to say it’s extreme. But what I would say is extreme is a trillion-dollar deficit every year. I mean, that’s an extremely bad situation.

Some good news for Senator Paul — we're not running a trillion-dollar deficit anymore. The deficit this year is forecast at $642 billion, per the Congressional Budget Office, which also forecasts the deficit to fall to $560 billion next year and $378 billion the following year.

For Rand (and Ron) Paul, the dread specter of fiscal collapse and hyperinflation is more of a generalized fact of life than something that depends on particular "numbers." The whole political rise of the Pauls since 2008 owes a great deal to the economic crisis and the resulting spike in the deficit, which drove large numbers of people to join the freak-out bunker where the Pauls have resided all along. Of course Rand Paul isn't going to notice the apocalypse is receding — its imminent appearance is a fixed piece of his worldview.

Green also asked Paul about the Federal Reserve, leading to this amusing exchange:

Who would your ideal Fed chairman be?
Hayek would be good, but he’s deceased.

Nondead Fed chairman.
Friedman would probably be pretty good, too, and he’s not an Austrian, but he would be better than what we have.

Dead, too.
Yeah. Let’s just go with dead, because then you probably really wouldn’t have much of a functioning Federal Reserve.

Ha. Except it makes no sense. Paul is a hard-money fanatic who wants to abolish the Federal Reserve's role in using money policy to stabilize the economy. That's the joke. Milton Friedman, though, had the complete opposite view of monetary policy. His central academic insight was support for very active monetary policy. He called it "Monetarism." Look it up!