So yesterday I posted expressing my bewilderment that Sam “Joe” the Plumber had listed The Theory of Money and Credit by Ludwig von Mises as a book recommendation, noting allegedly himself that, “it brought monetary theory into the mainstream of economic analysis. It is important reading for these troubled times.” Not having read the work itself, I assumed Sam “Joe”‘s emphasis on monetary policy was a just a subtle dig at the expansionary fiscal policy now being pushed by most economists, but it’s worth pointing out that Mises was an ardent supporter of the gold standard and general government hater of the highest order.
Ludwig von Mises, Money and Credit: p. 416 ff: [T]he gold standard appears as an indispensible element of the body of constitutional guarantees that make the system of representative government function…. What the foes of the gold standard are asking for is… to intensify very considerably the already-prevailing upward trend of prices and wages…. Such a policy of radical inflationism is, of course, extremely popular…. How pale is the art of sorcerers, witches, and conjurors when compared with that of the government’s treasury department! The government, professors tell us, ‘can raise all the money it needs by printing it'. Taxes for revenue, announced a chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, are ‘obsolete'. How wonderful!… Eventually… the cleverly-concocted plans of inflation collapse. Whatever compliant government economists may have said, inflationism is not a monetary policy that can be considered as an alternative to a sound-money policy….
Important reading for troubled times indeed.