TNR calls Rand Paul very dangerous in 2016, particularly on the economic front. His 'Audit the Fed' in particular is "a terrible idea:"
First, the Fed already is extensively audited by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) and even private sector auditors like Deloitte. Each week, the central bank also releases its balance sheet and even has an interactive guide of its balance sheet available for further explanation.
However, the GAO and OIG audits exclude a few parts of the Fed's policymaking, including transactions by the Federal Open Market Committee. Paul's bill removes those exclusions and requires "recommendations for legislative or administrative action" from the Comptroller General. Sounds innocuous, right? It's not. That would significantly damage the Fed's independence, which exists so that politicians cannot influence the central bank for their own political purposes. In other words, "Audit the Fed" would lead legislators to interfere with monetary policy matters and put the entire economy at risk.
Paul's gold-fueled inflation hysteria is even more "profoundly misguided""
In terms of current policy, goldbugs, as they are often called, think the Fed's recent decisions--its zero interest rate policy and bond-buying program--will cause skyrocketing inflation and reduce what you can buy with dollars. Those warnings look more foolish by the day. Inflation over the past year was just 0.7 percent, 1.3 percent if you remove volatile food and energy prices. Inflation expectations for the next 10 years are also very low. You would think that these low inflation rates would convince Paul and his followers to rethink their economic theory [but] Paul's economic ignorance doesn't end there. [...]
As long as he's in the Senate, that doesn't really matter. He can spout his nonsense without having any effect on the Federal Reserve. But if he became president, he would be responsible for choosing the next Fed Chair when Janet Yellen's term expires in 2018 and for nominating board members to the FOMC. That doesn't give Paul unlimited power, since the Senate would still have to confirm his nominees. But as president, Paul would be the leader of the GOP, with an even greater ability to dictate its position on monetary policy and convince Republican senators to support his nominees.
At least on the economy, that makes Rand Paul by far the most dangerous candidate in the 2016 field.
Bad economics is, of course, endemic on the Right. In an interview with George Stephanopolous, Ted Cruz explains that trickle-down economics doesn't work (only 35 years too late!) by pointing out that "the economy is doing great ...for the wealthy:"
The top 1 percent under President Obama, the millionaires and billionaires that he constantly demagogues, earn a higher share of our income than any year since 1928. [...] But I'll tell you, hard working men and women across America are hurting.
Ben Carson thinks that the 47% are lazy or something (apparently, the phrase 'working poor' hasn't made its way to his ears):
For those who are not poor, there is a four letter work that works extremely well, it's called w-o-r-k, work. [...] The government is not there to give away everything and to take care of people.
Sounds like he could use a refresher course on the source of the phrases 'domestic tranquility,' 'common defense,' and 'general welfare,' but he'd rather stumble backward to 2012:
Romney talked about the 47 percent. He made one major mistake. He assumed that they all had the same mentality. They don't. A lot of people in that 47 percent are very anxious to experience the American dream. What they are looking for is the right mechanism, the pathway out. This is what we have to provide for them, and that's going to include fixing the economy, which is not going to be that difficult to do, quite frankly.
It would be even easier without Republican obstructionism--but he's campaigning to exacerbate the problem, not alleviate it. It's all part of the Right's inequality ruse:
There's no denying that the U.S. economy is in much better shape than it was six years ago. But contrary to the conventional wisdom, the primary reason the Obama era has been so difficult has always been political rather than economic. It wasn't because of a bad economy that Wall Street paid no price for throwing the world into recession; and it wasn't because of a bad economy that Washington spent years doing nothing as unemployment rose, household wealth plummeted, infrastructure deteriorated and wages flatlined. [...]
No, those mistakes and others were the fault of American politics. More specifically, they were a result of our politics' devolution back to Gilded Age-style plutocracy, and Washington's ever-increasing tendency to focus on the issues that matter to the 1 percent at the exclusion of anything else. [...]
[Jeb] Bush thinks any law that "subtracts from [economic] growth" should not even be discussed. But if that's your inclination, the chances that you're also someone who worried about inequality before Republicans began using the issue to bash Obama are vanishingly small. In fact, it's more likely that you've spent most of the Obama era the same way as other conservatives and libertarians: dismissing inequality's importance, or denying its existence.