Aaron Clarey on Ron Paul libertarians and America's economic challenge

Aaron Clarey, aka Photo: The problems with money

FLORIDA, March 26, 2012 — China is notorious for its currency manipulation schemes.  

Beyond this, however, it not only owns a tremendous amount of America’s national debt, but it accounts for much of our trade deficit. How could our country level the playing field in the near future?

Many pundits say that the future of the American center-right belongs to libertarians, specifically those of the Ron Paul variety. Might the economy fare well under strong Libertarian influence? An increasing number of people believe that, due to exorbitant tuition rates, college is no longer worth the money. Is this really the case?

In this second part of our discussion, financial commentator Aaron Clarey, perhaps best known as Captain Capitalism, explains. He also tells us about what he thinks the most serious economic challenge facing America is, as well as how he came to be not only a pundit, but a fossil hunter and ballroom dancing instructor.  

Yes, you read that correctly. 

Joseph F. Cotto: China is notorious for its currency manipulation schemes. Beyond this, however, it not only owns a tremendous amount of America’s national debt, but accounts for much of our trade deficit. How do you suppose that the U.S. could level the playing field in the near future?

Aaron Clarey: Refuse to do any future trading with China until they let their currency float freely. That is arguably the single largest impediment to U.S. industrial growth, and I have no idea why we even agree to trade with China when they manipulate their currency so.

Cotto: Many pundits say that the future of the American center-right belongs to Libertarians; specifically those of the Ron Paul variety. Do you think that the U.S. economy would fare well under strong Libertarian influence?

Clarey: Yes, because the economic policies are not only the same as the Republican Party, but they’re less corrupt. The Republican Party has an economic platform that is the same as the Libertarian platform, but they never implement it and are completely inept at politics. 

They [Republicans] fail to convey and explain the economic philosophy of free markets to the American people and let malarkey like “socialism” and “hope and change” sway lesser-minded voters. In short the issue is not one of economics. It’s not even about politics. It’s about having a spine and marketing. The Republicans fail miserably on both accounts.

Cotto: An increasing number of people believe that, due to exorbitant tuition rates, college is no longer worth the money. What are your views about this idea?

Clarey: They are correct. It’s a bubble. Unless you’re in a field that rationalizes what your spending on tuition and provides a decent ROI, then college MATHEMATICALLY is not worth the money. If young students are too blinded by their idealism or feelings or whatever brainwashing they received from their parents and teachers about “you’re the greatest, you do what you want and the money will follow, follow your heart, you’re on to great things,” they will suffer an incredibly rude awakening when they graduate with $75,000 in debt and their 20s half over all because they told themselves “Education isn’t all about the money.  It’s for the experience and being well-rounded.”

Cotto: What would you say is the most serious economic challenge facing America?

Clarey: Entitlement spending manifesting itself in the form of debt. No question about it. We can debate whether illegal immigration and the apparent indifference Americans have to whether we protect our own borders, let alone, whether we want a country is important. 

We can debate about whether radical Islam is a threat. We can worry about North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. Those are moot compared to our crushing debt. If we can’t even pay for what we spend, then there’s no point worrying about anything else because we lack the responsibility, maturity and basic math skills to even have a country.

Cotto: Now that our discussion is at its end, many readers are probably wondering how you came to be not only an economic commentator but a dancer and fossil hunter as well. Tell us a bit about your life and career.

Clarey: It’s a very simple philosophy that I let lead my life — I am going to die. So are you, and so is everybody else. However, most people live life for work or live life to compensate for making grandiose and idiotic mistakes. When they die, they will have regrets and wish they had more fun. 

Not me. My goal is to maximize my fun in life. This is why I do what interests me.  Swing dancing, salsa dancing, fossil hunting, motorcycle riding, mountain climbing, and everything in between. I drink good booze, smoke great cigars and only date girls that love shopping at Frederick’s of Hollywood. I’m even going on my first serious tornado chasing expedition this spring. Anything and everything that makes life enjoyable, I’m pursuing it.

How I came to this “life philosophy” or “epiphany” was working in banking for 15 years. As evidenced by the financial crisis and current economic state of the U.S. economy, the entire finance industry is corrupt and dysfunctional. So despite finance and economics being my passion (and me being quite good at it), my life dream of working for a bank as an economist was impossible. I wasted 15 years of my youth trying to be “responsible,” “work hard” and “be the best.” I swore the remainder of my life would be spent having fun. 

Fortunately I’ve found that what got me in trouble in my banking career (speaking directly, bluntly, and truthfully) has a market in the blogging world and consulting. 

So now via my blog, books, podcast etc., I get to speak my mind, mock and ridicule the banking industry, speak candidly about economics and politics, get paid for it, and do it anywhere in the world as long as there’s internet access.


Far-left? Far-right? Get real: Read more from “The Conscience of a Realist” by Joseph F. Cotto 


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Joseph Cotto

Joseph F. Cotto is a social journalist by trade and student of history by lifestyle choice. He hails from central Florida, writing about political, economic, and social issues of the day. In the past, he was a contributor to Blogcritics Magazine, among other publications. He is currently at work on a book about American society.

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