“We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80%.”
So said President Obama in the middle of the great debate in respect of foreign policy. We take it as one of the most maddening moments in the whole campaign. What question does one imagine Mr. Obama was answering? It turns out to be that he was answering the question of whether either one of the candidates would be prepared to declare that an attack on Israel is an attack on America. They both expressed friendship. And then started rattling on about sanctions. What we kept thinking is this: If Mr. Obama comprehends how bad it is for Iran that its currency has shed 80% of its value, why doesn’t he comprehend that about a dollar that has lost 50% of its value under his presidency alone?
The point seemed to go right by Mr. Romney. Gee, willikers, what is it going to take to get the Republican candidate to make an issue of the collapse of the dollar? Its value has plunged under Mr. Obama to less than a 1,750th of an ounce of gold from the 850th of an ounce of gold it was worth on the day Mr. Obama was sworn to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. It may be that Mr. Romney doesn’t want to press that point for strategic reasons — under the last Republican president, after all, the dollar shed nearly as much of its value as the 80% the rial has lost. That is, the vallue of the dollar under President George W. Bush plunged to an 850th of an ounce of gold from a 265th of an ounce of gold.
The Sun thinks Mr. Romney would be wise to wage the argument anyhow. President Bush is a big boy, and he can take it. The collapse of the value of our currency is hurting our people the same way the collapse of the rial is hurting the Persian people. We last wrote about this comaprison in the editorial “Rial Clear Politics.” No doubt some of the policy makers will point to the flatness of the consumer price index. In recent years, though, this index has become an index of items that aren’t rising in price. It has been stripped of things like gasoline and food, at least when convenient for the policy makers. This is a debate this country needs to have.
Certainly the next president is going to be confronted with it in short order. Chairman Bernanke’s term expires in 2014, on the 100th anniversary of the year the Federal Reserve began its operations. The legislation that created the Fed was passed in 1913. This whole issue is going to become part of the anniversary. But the conversation has already started. The New York Times ran out a dispatch this morning under the headline, “Presidential Election Weighs on the Federal Reserve.” It reported that, since Mr. Romney has said he won’t renew Chairman Bernanke’s term at the Fed, the question of whom he will name suddenly looms large.
All we can say is that this is quite a situation shaping up. Mr. Romney keeps saying that on the first day of his administration he’s going to label the Communist Chinese regime a “currency manipulator.” The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page responds that “biggest ‘currency manipulator’ in the world today is the U.S. Federal Reserve.” The president is boasting that his policies have destroyed the Iranians’ currency even worse than he, the Fed, and the Congress have destroyed our own. The Iranian currency is down 80%, the value of our own is but half of what it was four years ago. American working men and women, and millions who can’t find work, are going to buy gas and groceries and coming home with empty wallets.