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Trump’s Fed Picks Have Fond Memories of the Gold Standard

Stephen Moore and Herman Cain are outside the economics mainstream in wanting to peg the dollar to gold.

John Maynard Keynes, the secular saint of left-leaning economists, called gold a “barbarous relic.” Milton Friedman, his counterpart on the right, said a gold standard for the dollar “is not feasible because the mythology and beliefs required to make it effective do not exist.” In 2012, a survey of leading economists by the University of Chicago Booth School of Management found that 34 percent disagreed with a gold standard and 66 percent disagreed strongly. 

Yet both of President Donald Trump’s apparent picks for open seats on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, Stephen Moore and Herman Cain, are interested in fixing the price of the dollar in quantities of gold—bringing back a system that President Richard Nixon abandoned in 1971.

Their stance on gold encapsulates how far the two are outside the mainstream. It doesn’t mean they’re wrong—just that most economists of the left, right, and center who have looked into restoring the gold standard have concluded that it would be a bad idea.