Confirmed: Ron Paul’s 2012 team bribed a state senator

After a guilty plea this week, we now have confirmation that Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign bribed an elected official $73,000.

A former Iowa state senator pleaded guilty Wednesday to receiving and concealing payments in exchange for switching his support from one presidential candidate to another in the 2012 election, the Justice Department said.

The former lawmaker, Kent Sorenson, resigned from the Iowa Senate last year after an investigation found that he probably violated ethics rules by taking money from presidential campaigns.

Mr. Sorenson, 42, of Milo, Iowa, had been the state chairman for the presidential campaign of Representative Michele Bachmann, Republican of Minnesota, but then switched his support to former Representative Ron Paul of Texas just days before the state’s caucus.

In a statement filed with his plea agreement, Mr. Sorensen admitted that he agreed to switch his allegiance in exchange for $73,000 in payments.

Please tell me more about Congressman Paul’s integrity and principles and blah blah blah. Though I suppose that buying elected officials is very free-market and all that.

The fallout began Friday night, as a Paul family insider, Jesse Benton, was forced to resign as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s re-election campaign manager in Kentucky.

Benton has worked in high-ranking positions in Rand Paul’s first Senate bid in 2010 and Ron Paul’s 2012 campaign, and he has married into the family, as well. It’s not known whether Benton himself knew about the bribe, but there would be a lot of questions either way, and so he had to go. If he’s cleared, I’m guessing he’ll be back for Sen. Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign team, which he had already been slated to join before this scandal broke.

Stop talking about “fiat currency.” No one cares.

one-dollar-billI’m getting real bored by all the libertarians on the internet who won’t stop rambling about “fiat currency” — money that is printed and not backed by precious metal or some other scarce commodity — like they’re privy to some dark conspiracy that no one else has been let in on.

They manage to bring it up in almost any context, trying to explain any economic problem with it or waving away any economic progress as irrelevant in a world of fiat currency. It’s like the internet libertarian equivalent of Godwin’s Law, but instead of comparing something random to Hitler the discussion invariably trends toward derailment by reference to fiat currency.

Here’s an example I recently saw where someone manages to link something that’s basically irrelevant to this:

You can see comments like that all over the internet these days, usually apropos of almost nothing.

We’ve been off the gold standard since the Nixon Administration. The world hasn’t ended. Might be time to let that particular obsession drop.

Aside from all the huge economic problems that result from tying currency to a gold standard or any other non-“fiat” system (which is why we stopped using it), the endless hand-wringing about it is based on a false premise that money is worthless unless back by some commodity or is literally made from it. Money does not derive its true value from what it’s made of and never has. Its power has always been more from the public confidence in and strength of the government backing it.

If everyone is confident in the currency and the government, it won’t collapse or rapidly erode in value. If those two confidences are missing…well, you have a lot more problems to worry about at that point than what the money is made of or backed by.