The Jackson Hole Summit, billed as being “designed to challenge the policies of the Fed,” opened this morning, to the sounds of Ray Charles and “We’re Off To See The Wizard.” The Wizard of Oz and the Yellow Brick Road are already a constant theme, with only two speakers under the group’s belt. Taking place at the same time as the Fed Conference, introductory speaker Steve Lonegan made it clear this is not mere collocation but absolute defiance. The speakers and attendees here in Wyoming have differing points of view on policy prescriptions and possible solutions, but they are joined together in at least one single purpose: total condemnation of the Fed.
At the Thursday evening reception, Heritage fellow Steve Moore fired up the crowd listing the abject failures of monetary policy as demonstrated under the Obama administration. Terrible growth, terrible recovery, loss of real wages, loss of family income. One of the key problems identified and to be discussed at length during this day and a half meeting of conservatives and libertarians is zero interest rates, a phrase that is uttered with the same venom as if it were an invective on its own. Zero interest as undermining the economy in general. Zero interest as devaluing currency. Zero interest as a driving force behind the destruction of entrepreneurial spirit and retirement security.
And of course, the constant watchword of the meeting: Gold. The only place you will hear the word gold spoken more often is inside the Lonely Mountain just after the departure of Smaug. The gold standard is the gold standard for presentation topics, and the first speaker Friday morning, George Mason University Professor of Economics Dr. Lawrence White, opens the day by diving right into the benefits of a return to the standard, and what the country has lost in its absence. The Twitter hashtag #JacksonHoleSummit demonstrates the mainstreaming of what was only a few years ago seen as Ron Paul’s personal Quixotic quest.
Professor White notes that we’re “kind of where we were 100 years ago. We’re in the shadow of financial panic, this time from 2007 instead of 1907.”
It’s time to try something instead of a top down centrally planned system run by wizards, says White. “A new gold standard with a free banking system would once again give us an economy that relies not on a committee of wizards,” but on the collective intelligence of free markets and investors.
End the Fed is the catch phrase. A return to sane monetary policy is the goal. And this is the Summit. The American Spectator will continue to post updates live from the conference as they become available.