Daily Archives: August 24, 2012
Republicans Eye Return to Gold Standard
The gold standard has returned to mainstream U.S. politics for the first time in 30 years, with a “gold commission” set to become part of official Republican party policy.
Drafts of the party platform, which it will adopt at a convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, next week, call for an audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy and a commission to look at restoring the link between the dollar and gold.
The move shows how five years of easy monetary policy — and the efforts of congressman Ron Paul — have made the once-fringe idea of returning to gold-as-money a legitimate part of Republican debate.
Marsha Blackburn, a Republican congresswoman from Tennessee and co-chair of the platform committee, said the issues were not adopted merely to placate Paul and the delegates that he picked up during his campaign for the party’s nomination.
“These were adopted because they are things that Republicans agree on,” Blackburn told the Financial Times. “The House recently passed a bill on this, and this is something that we think needs to be done.”
The proposal is reminiscent of the Gold Commission created by former president Ronald Reagan in 1981, 10 years after Richard Nixon broke the link between gold and the dollar during the 1971 oil crisis. That commission ultimately supported the status quo.
“There is a growing recognition within the Republican party and in America more generally that we’re not going to be able to print our way to prosperity,” said Sean Fieler, chairman of the American Principles Project, a conservative group that has pushed for a return to the gold standard.
A commission would have no power except to make recommendations, but Fieler said it would provide a chance to educate politicians and the public about the merits of a return to gold. “We’re not going to go from a standing start to the gold standard,” he said.
The Republican platform in 1980 referred to “restoration of a dependable monetary standard,” while the 1984 platform said that “the gold standard may be a useful mechanism”. More recent platforms did not mention it.
Any commission on a return to the gold standard would have to address a host of theoretical, empirical and practical issues.
Inflation has remained under control in recent years, despite claims that expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet would lead to runaway price rises, while gold has been highly volatile. The price of the metal is up by more than 500 per cent in dollar terms over the past decade.
A return to a fixed money supply would also remove the central bank’s ability to offset demand shocks by varying interest rates. That could mean a more volatile economy and higher average unemployment over time.
Copyright 2011 The Financial Times Limited
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USA: ANGA Provides CNG Buses for Republican National Convention
America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA) announced that it is providing buses fueled by clean, affordable, American compressed natural gas (CNG) for the 2012 Republican National Convention.
The 12 shuttle buses, dubbed the GOP EZ Shuttles, will transport convention participants on specific routes to several hotels, as well as attractions in the Tampa Bay area, including Ybor City and Busch Gardens. ANGA is working with local utility TECO Peoples Gas and Ultimate CNG to provide CNG fuel for the buses.
CNG fuel provides significant cost savings over diesel-fueled buses. When compared to diesel, compressed natural gas costs about $1.69 less per gallon equivalent. CNG also offers fleets an American fuel choice that is cleaner for the environment.
“We are proud to have this opportunity to provide transportation to convention participants in Tampa and to give them a first-hand experience with natural gas vehicles,” said ANGA President and Chief Executive Office Regina Hopper. “Companies and local leaders across the country are embracing natural gas as a fuel choice and calling for more vehicle options and filling stations to help drive this change. Our message in Tampa and beyond is that this is an extraordinary opportunity for our nation, and it’s time to get on board with this American fuel choice.”
Tampa and St. Petersburg are already taking advantage of natural gas as a clean, affordable, American transportation fuel, using it for airport transit vehicles and as part of the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit system starting next year. The decision to employ natural gas vehicles will add up to substantial cost savings and environmental benefits over the life of the vehicles.
“As mayor, I have seen firsthand the benefits that natural gas vehicles can bring in terms of lower fuel costs and clean air. I am pleased to welcome natural gas buses to the convention. These buses will not only provide a cleaner, cheaper method of transport but will also connect the thousands of guests here for various convention events to our local attractions,” said City of Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn.
“We’re delighted that these 12 natural gas vehicles – what we call ‘the Clean Dozen’ – will be part of our convention,” said William Harris, CEO of the 2012 Republican National Convention Committee on Arrangements. “Energy independence is critical to Mitt Romney’s vision of a better future for all Americans, which is what this convention is all about.”
Thanks to recent discoveries of vast supplies of shale gas throughout our nation, the United States is now the world’s leading producer of this versatile energy resource that can be used for transportation, power generation and industrial purposes. Greater use of natural gas vehicles can save money, create American jobs and enhance U.S. energy security. Leading companies such as Ryder, Verizon and AT&T have invested in natural gas vehicles for their fleets.
Natural gas production is responsible for nearly 3 million jobs and adds $385 billion annually to our economy. Abundant domestic supplies also translate into affordable energy, increasing the disposable income for the average American household by an estimated $926 this year.
Florida is the second largest user of natural gas in the country, with 62 percent of the state’s electricity generation coming from natural gas. According to a recent IHS study, natural gas supported more than 15,000 jobs in Florida in 2010. That number is expected to rise to more than 30,000 by 2035. In addition, IHS found that natural gas will contribute more than $23 billion in government revenue to Florida by 2035
ANGA also will be providing buses for the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
USA: ANGA Provides CNG Buses for Republican National Convention LNG World News.
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- Apache’s airport deal may help natural gas take off (fuelfix.com)
- Natural gas slowly makes its way to your filling station. (eenews.net)
- WJAC-TV: More Drivers Converting to Compressed Natural Gas (gantdaily.com)