Is Obama using Mt. McKinley to troll the gold bugs?
Ohio Republicans are miffed that President Obama intends to take Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, named after our 25th president and Buckeye State native William McKinley, and rebrand it “Denali.” It’s a state pride thing, we’re told. And okay, sure. It’s kind of understandable — even if Ohio’s “outrage” seems a bit perfunctory.
But Ohioans aren’t the only folks on the right peeved about the switcheroo of North America’s tallest peak. For some, Obama isn’t just trampling the legacy of the man who led the United States to victory in the Spanish-American War — he’s also throwing shade at the gold standard.
If Obama wanted to subtly troll the gold-bug wing of the right, renaming Mt. McKinley would be a crafty way of doing so. Over at Breitbart, editor Ben Shapiro argues that Obama “likely opposes” how McKinley “rejected inflation by sticking with the gold standard.” And the editors of the New York Sun argue that McKinley’s electoral victory meant “passage in 1900 of the Gold Standard Act, which set the stage for the great boom of the 20th century.” Clearly, honor must be paid.
The return of old-fashioned gold bugs to modern center-right politics has been one of the more unhelpful political repercussions of the Great Recession. They’ve nudged GOP economic dogma toward an unfounded obsession with debt, inflation, and austerity. It’s all pretty much nonsense. Despite never-ending warnings that a second financial crisis is nigh, inflation has been below the Federal Reserve’s two percent target for 38 straight months. New projections for the fiscal 2015 budget deficit show the smallest gap since 2007 and below the 50-year average. And rather than a collapsing dollar wreaking havoc, it’s been a strong greenback that’s been an economic headwind. Indeed, if it had been up to the hard money crowd, the Federal Reserve would have followed the same disastrous, inflation-phobic policies of the European Central Bank.