Is Sen. Ted Cruz the palatable presidential alternative to Donald Trump? Sure, the Texan senator’s not exactly the Republican Party establishment’s first or even second choice, but the Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio ships have sailed and sunk.
Many in the GOP hold similar sentiments to the Republican lobbyist Ed Rogers, who told CNN in December that "compared to Trump, he's OK."
But if you run a business, are employed by one, care about the stability of the financial system, or would prefer that the U.S. economy not be needlessly thrown into disarray -- a group that seems like a pretty broad coalition of voters -- Cruz’s economic policy is not OK.
He told CNBC on Friday that he wants to push America back to the gold standard. This is a hare-brained policy that no other country uses and not a single surveyed economist thinks is a good idea. Under the gold standard, a dollar is worth a certain amount of gold.
That’s great, you might think: the value of the dollar will be stable. But the exact opposite is true; gold is a commodity and its price, driven by supply and demand and speculation, swings wildly. Under the gold standard, a central bank like the Federal Reserve would have to raise and cut interest rates not based on how well the economy is doing, but what’s going on in the gold market. It’s a good way to run a modern economy into the ground. (The inflexibility of the gold standard caused the Great Depression.)
And yet Cruz thinks the gold standard is a great policy.
The Cruz campaign did not respond to a request for comment from The Huffington Post.
He expressed support for this very dangerous idea at Republican debates in October and November, too. “We had it for about 170 years of our nation’s history, and enjoyed booming economic growth and lower inflation than we have had with the Fed now," Cruz said. "We need to get back to sound money.”
But that’s not really true. As Matt O’Brien wrote in the Atlantic, it “was a time of more frequent recessions, more protracted recessions, and more severe recessions. In other words, the bad old days.”
If that's the American economy you want, Ted Cruz has the policy to deliver it.