Ron Paul Endorses Chuck Baldwin in Surprise Announcement

To the surprise of most observers, Ron Paul – who claimed he would stay neutral between the presidential candidates of the Constitution and Libertarian parties – endorsed the Constitution Party’s Chuck Baldwin in a blog post made on September 22. Baldwin acknowledged and accepted the endorsement the following day.

Paul, whose candidacy brought together people from diverse ideological backgrounds, is taking a lot of heat for endorsing a man who cites the divisive Jerry Falwell as a hero and mentor. However, where Paul and Baldwin differ most greatly is on the issue of international trade – a subject of particular interest to economics buffs.

Ron Paul, love him or hate him, is one of the world’s most prominent advocates for pure laissez-faire. In fact, many supposed capitalists think Paul goes too far, so it’s important to note that in opposing NAFTA, the WTO, and other “free trade” deals, Paul does so because they put too many rules and regulations on trade.

Baldwin and other right-wing populists – as well as many left-liberals – oppose NAFTA because they’re against international trade. They are protectionists, and as such, they believe in “protecting American jobs.” Paul thinks the best way to create jobs is through real free trade – the exact opposite position.

The Constitution Party’s platform calls for tariffs on all foreign imports to cancel out any price advantages. Baldwin says he favors a 10% across the board tariff on all foreign imports. Ron Paul says that tariffs are “simply taxes on consumers” that “protect politically-favored special interests…while lowering wages across the economy as a whole.”

Baldwin and Paul could not possibly be more different!

You might say, “Yeah, but this is just one issue. Free trade isn’t really that big of a deal, is it?” Well, Ron Paul is a long-time student of the Austrian school of economics, and as a fellow adherent, I’d say that devotion to free trade is perhaps the defining issue – as big as abortion is to Republicans and Democrats.

So why would Ron Paul endorse a candidate who goes against him on a core issue? There are three reasons:

  1. The Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr, made Paul angry by refusing to participate in the press conference he set up for the four leading “alternative” presidential candidates.
  2. Ron Paul cares deeply about issues of “national sovereignty,” on which he and his good friend Chuck Baldwin are of the same mind.
  3. There is one other core economic issue of the Austrian school and the Paul campaign: opposition to the Federal Reserve, and on this issue, Baldwin scores.

If asked to sum up Ron Paul’s campaign in two words, I’d say “anti-war, anti-Fed” (or is that four words?). Baldwin passes that litmus test for Paul, but it’s up to the Congressman’s million-plus followers to decide if Chuck Baldwin makes the grade for them.

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