Yesterday, I had a chance to interview an honored CPAC guest, Member of the European Parliament Daniel Hannan. Unfortunately for me and for all of us, the audio did not record properly on the video, a problem I only discovered long after CPAC packed up for the day. Since I was the cameraman as well as the interviewer, I took no notes, but I can give you a couple of lasting impressions of the discussion.
Hannan was a friendly and informal interview subject; when I asked him how he preferred to be addressed, he smiled and replied, “How about Daniel?” Daniel told me that I probably wouldn’t believe this, but the British are more informal than Americans when it comes to the protocols of dealing with public officials. (I believe him now, certainly.) We spoke at length about the fiscal crisis facing Greece and the EU, which Daniel explained is a lot more nuanced than we think — and worse. He expressed sympathy for the Greek people resisting the austerity measures being imposed on them, since he feels that the people who created the crisis are precisely the ones who will get bailed out on the backs of the Greek people. The same thing happened in America when we decided that some financial institutions were too big to fail, and the taxpayers ended up holding the bag for their bad investments.
What, then, is the solution? Daniel then pulled a copy of the US Constitution out of his jacket pocket and explained that we needed to return the model of government outlined in “the most brilliant document” ever created for political structure. We discussed the issue of the Fed and the dislocation from the gold standard, as Daniel insisted that governments will manipulate currency rather than make the necessary tough decisions to live within their means until forced to stop doing so. The British, he said, have already devalued their currency by 20% through three rounds of quantitative easing despite a clear lack of positive results from the first two rounds, and we are about to do the same. I asked him about whether he felt any affinity for Ron Paul’s efforts, and while Daniel declined to support Paul overall, he does find it remarkable how Paul’s financial policies were considered “fringe” five years ago, and now Austrian economics and Paul’s views on monetary policy have become a lot more mainstream — due to reality overtaking us on debt and deficits.
I apologize for the technical difficulties that ended up making my interview video with Daniel Hannan a silent movie. In recompense, I offer you the full video of Daniel’s highly entertaining address to CPAC via The Right Scoop (who has much more from CPAC as well), which got rave reviews from Blogger Row. He is clearly a friend to America; in our interview, Daniel emphasized the mutual affection that the people of both countries have for each other, and insisted that the “special relationship” between the governments is a separate matter. But like any friend who sees their closest friend about to walk over the same cliff as they have, Daniel is warning us not to follow in Europe’s footsteps. Hopefully, it is not too late.