This week Michele Bachmann endorsed Mitt Romney for president of the United States, referring to him as our "only option [to] preserve the American dream of prosperity and liberty." Tea Partiers really aren't sure why she chose a flip-flopping moderate over the Tea Party's "intellectual godfather," but it says a lot about her political priorities before reducing the size and scope of government. At least she's talented at faking conservatism.
Bachmann had a conversation about economics with the Wall Street Journal a little less than a year ago, and she mentioned that one of her favorite economists is none other than Ludwig von Mises, an economist associated with the Austrian School. Seeing as how Mises is about as famous as a bag of rocks outside of the libertarian circles, this caused quite a stir among Ron Paul supporters.
Some people were happy she mentioned him; others, concerned that critics would correlate von Mises with her non-libertarian beliefs, were not. One individual at the Ron Paul Forums aptly described the libertarian community's reaction to the news: "Does this make Bachmann more cool or Mises less cool?"
Her endorsement of Romney, though, has Ludwig von Mises turning in his grave. From the moment Bachmann said, "When I go on vacation and I lay on the beach, I bring von Mises," we should have known she was lying. The sand and waves are for relaxation, and no one on God's green earth would have a good time reading Mises' work on the beach.
Aside from Romney being a major tool in general, his political views represent everything the Austrian economist despised. Here are three quick reasons we libertarians are sure that Bachmann never read Mises, or else she would have endorsed Ron Paul.
Mises writes in Liberalism,
...alcoholism, cocainism, and morphinism are deadly enemies of life, of health, and of the capacity for work and enjoyment [but] this is far from demonstrating that the authorities must interpose to suppress these vices by commercial prohibitions, nor is it by any means evident that such intervention on the part of the government is really capable of suppressing them or that, even if this end could be attained.
Mitt Romney, on the other hand, supports drug prohibition and the government's continued arrests of non-violent drug users. When asked by an undergraduate in October 2007 whether he'd respect the 10th amendment and allow states to choose different drug policies, Romney responded, "I believe that marijuana should be illegal in our country. It is the pathway to drug usage [which] is one of the great causes of crime in our cities."
Romney answered the same way a few days later when a patient with muscular dystrophy asked if he would be arrested for using medical marijuana to combat his pain: "I'm not in favor of medical marijuana." The former Massachusetts governor abruptly walked away.
Realizing his opinions are weak, he has since evaded such questions.
The Federal Reserve
Mises writes in Human Action,
...the cyclical fluctuations of business are not an occurrence originating in the sphere of the unhampered market, but a product of government interference with business conditions designed to lower the rate of interest below the height at which the free market would have fixed it...
As soon as the credit expansion comes to an end, these faults become manifest. The attitudes of the consumers force the businessmen to adjust their activities anew to the best possible want-satisfaction. It is this process of liquidation of the faults committed in the boom and of readjustment to the wishes of the consumers which is called the depression.
The central bank's manipulation of interest rates lead to drastic misallocations of important resources, and the resulting boom and bust periods hurt the economy. Even Michele Bachmann herself understands this.
Yet Mitt Romney seems to believe that Ben Bernanke is "a pretty skilled expert at dealing with recessions and depressions and studying how you avoid depressions." I would add that Bernanke has even more experience causing these recessions. Romney concludes that the housing bubble was something that "a lot of other people missed," too.
For the record, Ron Paul didn't miss it. Indeed he predicted it more than 11 years ago.
Military and War
Mises writes in Omnipotent Government,
History has witnessed the failure of many endeavors to impose peace by war, cooperation by coercion, unanimity by slaughtering dissidents ... A lasting order cannot be established by bayonets...
If you want to abolish war, you must eliminate its causes. What is needed is to restrict government activities to the preservation of life, health, and private property, and thereby to safeguard the working of the market.
Capitalism and war cannot coexist. The former requires a free market, and the latter requires government intervention to skew this market and appropriate money for destruction in foreign lands. Unfortunately Mitt Romney has been hostile towards the idea of diplomacy, criticizing then-Sen. Barack Obama's proposal to peacefully meet with the governments of North Korea and Cuba as "remarkably poor judgment."
Romney explained to Bill O'Reilly his foreign policy stance on Iran: "I'm reading to make sure that we have military options combined with crippling sanctions ... Iran understands we would use military options."
I place an asterisk by the word "taxes" because I don't really count this as a reason to not vote for Romney; it's more of a reason to prove that Michele Bachmann is pointless. She used to work for the Internal Revenue Service. Here is Mises' take on tax collectors:
Some experts have declared that it is necessary to tax the people until it hurts. I disagree with these sadists.
So let me repeat, Mrs. Bachmann -- Ludwig von Mises would not endorse Romney.