Ron Paul Background



Ronald Ernest “Ron” Paul was born on August 20, 1935 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the third of five sons of Howard and Margaret Paul. His paternal grandfather emigrated from Germany, and his paternal grandmother, a devout Christian, was a first-generation German-American. Hard work and frugality were instilled early on in the Paul household.

Ron and his four brothers all shared one bedroom. Howard Paul owned a dairy, where young Ron helped out. His first paying job was inspecting milk bottles that his uncle loaded onto the conveyor belt, earning a penny for every dirty milk bottle he found. Ron also had a paper route, mowed lawns, moved furniture, and worked in the local drug store. He saved his earnings from those jobs and used them to help finance his college education.

Ron was also gifted at athletics. As a junior at Dormont High School, he was the state champion in the 220-yard dash and the 440-yard dash. While in high school, he met his future wife, Carol Wells, whom he married in February of 1957.

Ron attended Gettysburg College, where he was a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. After graduating from Gettysburg in 1957 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology, he then went to Duke University’s School of Medicine and earned a medical degree in 1961. Dr. Paul then spent the next two years as a medical resident in internal medicine at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan.

In January of 1963, Dr. Paul was drafted into the United States Air Force, where he served as a flight surgeon at Kelly Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. Following his active duty service, Dr. Paul continued to serve in the United States Air National Guard from 1965 to 1968, while simultaneously studying obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Paul and his wife then relocated to Lake Jackson, Texas, where he opened his own private practice in obstetrics and gynecology. Over the course of his career, he is said to have delivered more than 4,000 babies.




While a medical resident in the 1960s, Dr. Paul was influenced by Friedrich Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom, which influenced him to read the works of Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand. He then met the economists Hans Sennholz and Murray Rothbard, whose writings further stimulated his interest in the study of economics.


Political Career

On August 15, 1971, President Richard Nixon “closed the gold window,” exiting the Bretton Woods System and severing the US dollar’s last link with gold. Foreign governments would no longer be able to redeem their dollar holdings for gold, and the dollar’s value would henceforth fluctuate against other currencies. The dollar was no longer “as good as gold.”

Nixon’s actions brought Dr. Paul to the realization that everything Austrian economists had predicted throughout the 1960s was now coming true. Political and economic turmoil that had been foreseen by economists of the Austrian School was coming to fruition. The desire to educate the American people about the impending breakdown of the monetary system inspired Dr. Paul to make his first run for office. His first campaign, like all of his subsequent campaigns, featured his views on sound money and the gold standard as central issues.

After losing to incumbent Congressman Robert R. Casey in 1974, Dr. Paul was victorious in a special election to fill Casey’s seat in 1976. That same year, he established the Foundation for Rational Economics and Education (FREE).

Dr. Paul was appointed to the House Banking Committee in April of 1976, serving as a strong advocate for sound monetary policy and as an outspoken critic of the Federal Reserve’s inflationary measures.

Defeated in the 1976 general election, Dr. Paul returned to Congress in the 1978 election and was re-elected twice, serving until 1985. Emerging as a strong critic of the country’s banking and financial systems, Dr. Paul began writing to explain his thinking on economics and monetary policy. Along with Senator Jesse Helms, Dr. Paul was able to convince Congress to study the gold standard and a return to gold as money, resulting in the United States Gold Commission.

In 1981, his book Gold, Peace and Prosperity: The Birth of a New Currency was published, followed the next year by The Case for Gold: A Minority Report of the US Gold Commission, which he co-authored with gold standard advocate and fellow Gold Commission member Lew Lehrman.

In 1984, Dr. Paul declined to run again for his House seat, choosing instead to make an unsuccessful run for the US Senate. In his farewell address he explained that: “Special interests have replaced the concern that the Founders had for general welfare… It’s difficult for one who loves true liberty and utterly detests the power of the state to come to Washington for a period of time and not leave a true cynic.” Dr. Paul returned to his medical practice, but did not stay out of politics for too long.

A lifelong Republican, Dr. Paul joined the Libertarian Party to become its nominee for President in the 1988 election. While he came in third in the overall vote count, Paul received over 400,000 votes in the general election.

In the 1996 election, Dr. Paul fought both the Republican and Democratic political establishments to win election to Congress, and ended up maintaining his seat for the next 16 years. During his tenure in Congress, Dr. Paul served on the Committee on Education and the Workforce, the Committee on Financial Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, and the Joint Economic Committee.

In 2008, Dr. Paul ran for President again, competing for the Republican nomination. His 2008 campaign featured the innovative use of the “money bomb,” a 24-hour fundraising blitz. Through the use of money bombs, Dr. Paul set single-day GOP fundraising records, bringing in as much as $6 million in a single day. His total fundraising for the fourth quarter of 2007 totaled $20 million, and by January his fundraising totals were second only to eventual nominee John McCain.

While Dr. Paul was ultimately unsuccessful in attaining the Republican nomination, his success during the campaign touched a nerve among the American people and aroused a great deal of media attention. As the financial crisis played out through 2008, more and more people began to realize that Dr. Paul’s warnings about the fundamental weaknesses within the banking and monetary systems were coming true.

An outspoken opponent of the 2008 bank bailouts, Dr. Paul returned to Congress after the 2008 election as an even more vocal critic of the Federal Reserve System and the crony banking system it enabled. He redoubled his legislative efforts, introducing legislation to “End the Fed,” “Audit the Fed,” and allow for competing currencies.

In 2012, Dr. Paul launched another bid for President, competing for the Republican nomination. Building on the grassroots networks that developed after his 2008 campaign, Dr. Paul’s candidacy in 2012 was met with a groundswell of support. He made regular campaign stops at college campuses around the country, speaking to packed auditoriums and sports stadiums. Despite strong showings in a number of primary states, Dr. Paul was unable to make an impact at the GOP convention due to a rules change enacted to stymie him. The GOP establishment could not bear to see a candidate with strong grass roots support gain the nomination, so they pulled out all the stops to ensure the nomination of their anointed candidate, Mitt Romney.


Dr. Paul announced in mid-2011 that he would be retiring from Congress at the end of his term in 2013. At the time of his retirement, Dr. Paul served on the following committees:

Committee on Financial Services

  • Subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy and Technology (Chairman)
  • Subcommittee on International Monetary Policy and Trade

Committee on Foreign Affairs

  • Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
  • Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations


The stress of campaigning for President, combined with the necessities of a Congressional campaign, would have been too much for Dr. Paul to undertake. And so, the valiant defender of sound money and gold left Congress. But this wasn’t so much a retirement as a shifting of efforts. Now, instead of being beholden to the schedule of the Speaker of the House, Dr. Paul could set his own agenda and his own schedule. Rather than having to react to the flurry of unconstitutional legislation coming from Washington, Dr. Paul could be proactive, advancing an agenda of liberty and freedom.


2013 to Today

After leaving Congress, Dr. Paul founded the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, a think tank that seeks to promote his non-interventionist foreign policy views. The Institute, a project of his Foundation for Rational Economics and Education, regularly publishes articles on current issues related to foreign affairs. The Institute also holds events around the country featuring speakers who are aligned with Dr. Paul and his views on foreign policy.

Dr. Paul also began hosting Internet-based video broadcasts, stating: “I was at a debate one time a couple years ago, where I didn’t think I got a fair shake. In a two-hour debate, I had 89 seconds. I thought, maybe there’s something wrong with the media. Maybe they’re not covering us fairly. I’m just using it as a pun, but there’s a bit of truth to this. We don’t get a fair shake. The people who believe in liberty and limited government don’t expect it from the ordinary media.” Speaking about his youth appeal, he noted, “They don’t sit and watch TV and turn the programs on at seven o’clock to watch us like that – so I thought the technology was there. The country is ripe for the continuation of this revolution.”

In 2015, Dr. Paul started a new Internet-based broadcast, the Ron Paul Liberty Report, which is available online for free. In announcing his new venture, Dr. Paul stated: “But the message I have always tried to deliver over the years has always been the same, and that is spreading the message of liberty. Right now I am very much engaged in doing that through the Internet. But, I believe we can do better. Right now, the program has changed to the Ron Paul Liberty Report, and that is what we do, we report on liberty in context of what is going on in daily activity and what is going on in the news.” Dr. Paul continues to stay active with the Ron Paul Institute and the Ron Paul Liberty Report.


General Economic Views

Dr. Paul has been a long-time proponent of the Austrian School of economics. The Austrian School includes such famous economists as Carl Menger, Friedrich von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, and Murray Rothbard.

As a Congressman, Dr. Paul became known as “Dr. No” for his frequent votes against unconstitutional legislation. On hundreds of occasions Dr. Paul was the lone “no” vote. He regularly voted against proposals for new government spending or increased taxes, and pledged never to raise taxes or to vote to approve a budget deficit.

Dr. Paul has been a strong opponent of federal income taxes, believing that both income taxes and the federal budget should be scaled back drastically. He has also favored eliminating many government agencies and Cabinet departments, believing them to be unconstitutional and unnecessary.

Dr. Paul favors free trade, but rejects so-called “free trade agreements” as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as “managed trade” agreements that create new multinational bureaucracies and favor crony capitalist corporations who seek to use government power to maintain their edge over small businesses.

But Dr. Paul is perhaps best known for his opposition to the Federal Reserve System and his advocacy of sound money. Since his first election to Congress, Dr. Paul has warned of the perils of central banking and fiat money. Some of his major legislative efforts to return to sound money include the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act (“End the Fed”), the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (“Audit the Fed”), and the Free Competition in Currency Act. The latter act would remove restrictions on private mints issuing coins, eliminate federal legal tender laws, and remove sales and capital gains taxes on gold and silver so that they could once again be used as money.




In a 2010 interview with Steve Forbes, Dr. Paul explained his views on gold and silver as money: “If we were stranded on an island and one of us decided, ‘Well, we need some money. So we’re going to take these pieces of paper and I’ll write numbers on them and it’ll be money,’ it would be preposterous. Money comes out with real value. So over the many, many centuries, literally thousands of years, gold and silver has been used. And the founders understood this. They had runaway inflation. They explicitly said, ‘You can’t emit bills of credit,’and you want to restrain the authorities! So if you want to restrain government, you restrain the power to create money. And that’s what gold does. A lot of people think, ‘Well, that means you’re going to have to carry all that gold around in your pocket.’ No. There’s nothing wrong with gold certificates. And it can be electronic gold. It’s just that it restrains the power of individuals, especially secret individuals that have no oversight from Congress to create this money. You would certainly not need a Federal Reserve if you have a gold standard.”

(Interview with Steve Forbes, January 13, 2010)


Dr. Paul was interviewed on CNBC’s “Futures Now” about his outlook on gold, the rise in the price of gold over the last few decades, and what that means for the economy: “I remember watching gold when it was $35 an ounce, and we thought that if it ever hit $100, the world would come to an end…and then $1,000! As long as we continue to do this [print money], it could go to infinity, because when people just leave the dollar, who knows what? But that won’t happen, we’ll finally wake up and do something. But if we can keep this together, if the money managers can keep it together and it doesn’t collapse, yeah it’s going to keep creeping up.”

(Ron Paul: “Why I Still Believe in Gold”)


“I’m sure you recall the 1970’s during the Nixon era when wage and price controls were implemented and when the gold window was closed. It was on August 15, 1971, when the gold window was closed that it dawned on me that all that I was reading by the Austrian economist really was true. The problems the Austrians predicted for us were coming true in the 1960’s. They correctly predicted that our monetary system would break down, and that alarmed me. We were in turmoil especially politically and economically in 1974 which was the first year I ran for public office. The reason I ran was to talk about economics, which I found fascinating. I think from the very first campaign I ever ran in 1974, my literature has talked about sound money and the gold standard, and I continue to talk about it although there has been a lot that has happened since that time.” (Interview with Jay Taylor, May 11, 2000)


“I think there is no doubt that governments will distort values of currencies, whether they clip the coins and try to deceive people as in the old days. Or whether they keep gold at an artificially low price as they did in the late 1960’s when they temporarily maintained it at $35 per ounce by literally dumping it on to the market after they printed so much money that a $35 price was totally unrealistic. Centuries of monetary history illustrate that governments have it in their best interest to try to perpetuate the fraud that they have been involved in. … But I do believe very sincerely that the markets are more powerful than all these central bankers and that eventually, the markets will rule just as they did in the early 70’s. Eventually the artificially low price of gold imposed on us by the central banks and governments will be rejected just as $35 gold was rejected in the late 1960s.”

(Interview with Jay Taylor, May 11, 2000)


“So I am a strong believer in actually holding something of real value, not something that represents debt as does the US dollar and virtually all other currencies. So despite the argument that the holders of gold have not done well during the past ten or twenty years [as of 2000], I think people should ultimately protect themselves with gold. My job as a politician is to make sure those options needed for self-protection, namely to own a gun and buy gold, are available. Over the years, I have worked hard to do this by helping to push for the re-legalization of gold and gold coinage. One result of the Gold Commission was that we convinced our government that it can and should mint gold coins. Even though it is not considered money at the current time, they are gold coins.”

(Interview with Jay Taylor, May 11, 2000)


“When the federal government spends more each year than it collects in tax revenues, it has three choices: It can raise taxes, print money, or borrow money. While these actions may benefit politicians, all three options are bad for average Americans.” (“Deficits Make You Poorer”, March 15, 2005)


“People tolerate taxes for a while because they have previously accumulated wealth. As the tax burden grows and productivity falls, tax revenue falls and the only answer seems to be higher taxes. If the people can no longer tolerate higher taxes, government merely borrows and creates new money, and then the inflation tax is paid with higher prices. The whole process destabilizes the political system and eventually becomes a threat to civilized progress.” (From Liberty Defined)


“Our goals can only be achieved with a society that respects and equally protects the rights of every human being, old and young, rich and poor, regardless of gender, color, race, or creed. We must reject the initiation of violence by individuals or government as morally repugnant.” (From End the Fed)


“The most basic principle to being a free American is the notion that we as individuals are responsible for our own lives and decisions. We do not have the right to rob our neighbors to make up for our mistakes, neither does our neighbor have any right to tell us how to live, so long as we aren’t infringing on their rights. Freedom to make bad decisions is inherent in the freedom to make good ones. If we are only free to make good decisions, we are not really free.” (“Personal Freedoms and the Internet”, June 30, 2008)


“From the Great Depression, to the stagflation of the seventies, to the current economic crisis caused by the housing bubble, every economic downturn suffered by this country over the past century can be traced to Federal Reserve policy. The Fed has followed a consistent policy of flooding the economy with easy money, leading to a misallocation of resources and an artificial ‘boom’ followed by a recession or depression when the Fed-created bubble bursts.” (Statement Introducing the Federal Reserve Board Abolition Act, February 4, 2009)


“Not only is inflation the result of the political demands of special interest groups, the career desires of politicians, and the ill-conceived motives of economists, it is also clearly unconstitutional. Money of real value, gold or silver, was clearly intended by the Founding Fathers, as evidenced in their writings and in the Constitution. Their abhorrence of paper money stemmed from their experience with the Continental, and irredeemable Colonial paper money. That same abhorrence is becoming evident today as well, which is a healthy sign for those of us interested in developing a sound money system.” (From Gold, Peace, and Prosperity)


“Inflation destroys the incentive to save, especially when there are government ceilings on interest, as with savings accounts. Our tax system – taxing illusionary income – worsens this, and we can expect to see a smaller and smaller amount saved by Americans. Inflation steals from those who still believe in thrift, and robs pensions and retirement funds. How can any reasonable economist promote inflation with these facts staring him in the face? We have an opportunity to present to our people an alternative to the old, the failed, the tool of special interests: an alternative that is modern, that works, that benefits everyone. That alternative must be one that rejects inflation and dishonest money. It is a redeemable gold dollar.” (From Gold, Peace, and Prosperity)


“Today the dollar is troubled by a general lack of confidence. The market is anticipating that a steady depreciation will continue, thus prompting high interest rates. The purchasing power of the dollar as compared with gold has dramatically decreased over the past decade.” (From The Case for Gold)


“It is clear that discretionary monetary policy, without any assistance from gold, leads to serious economic instability, lack of capital formation, high interest rates, high price inflation, and intolerably high levels of unemployment.” (From The Case for Gold)


“Until the trust is restored in the money (and in the government which has destroyed the money), high interest rates will continue.” (From The Case for Gold)


“History shows that governments and the people in charge will always abuse the ‘right’ to create money if it is granted to them.” (From The Case for Gold)


“When new paper money was injected into the economy, an inflationary boom would result, to be followed by a deflationary depression when the paper money supply contracted.” (From The Case for Gold)


“The constant economic booms and busts that we’ve been experiencing have a very specific origin or starting point: the Federal Reserve. A common question that I receive is: ‘Wouldn’t there also be booms and busts in a free market system where people use free market money?’ And the answer to that question is ‘Yes’. However, the corrections would be nothing like the crushing economy-wide busts that we’re now used to. Businessmen, because they are human, are susceptible to making mistakes, whether there’s a central bank or not. The big difference is the scope of the mistakes. Without a central bank, mistakes and malinvestments would be localized. In other words, you might hear of an ‘auto depression’ or ‘farming depression,’ but the mistakes and liquidations would be localized and related to those specific sectors and any closely-related sectors. Businessmen can and do misread the market sometimes. But everyone would not be swept up into a false hysteria that must be followed by a punishing bust. With the Federal Reserve, however, booms and busts are experienced economy-wide. There is a general cluster of business errors. How can it be that astute entrepreneurs from such diverse businesses all make drastic errors at the same time? Well, there’s one common variable that all businessmen use: money. That’s where the Fed comes in. It manipulates the money supply which then brings about investment errors on an economy-wide scale.” (“The Fed Will Self-Destruct”, December 14, 2015)


“Inflation often leads to price and wage controls, which destroy the pricing system, the planning mechanism of the free economy. If these economists understood this, the only reason they could promote inflation would be to destroy freedom.” (From Gold, Peace, and Prosperity)




B.S., Gettysburg College, 1957

M.D., Duke University, 1961

Member of Congress – 1976, 1979-1985, 1997-2013

Presidential Candidate – 1988, 2008, 2012



Liberty Defined

The School Revolution: A New Answer for Our Broken Education System

The Revolution: A Manifesto

End the Fed

The Case for Gold

Gold, Peace, and Prosperity

Freedom Under Siege

Mises and Austrian Economics: A Personal View

Pillars of Prosperity: Free Markets, Honest Money, Private Property

A Foreign Policy of Freedom

Pursue the Cause of Liberty: A Farewell to Congress

Swords Into Plowshares

Abortion and Liberty


Ron Paul Fast Facts

  • Ron Paul never voted to raise taxes.
  • Ron Paul never voted for an unbalanced budget.
  • Ron Paul never voted for federal restrictions on gun ownership.
  • Ron Paul never voted to raise congressional pay.
  • Ron Paul never took a government-paid junket.
  • Ron Paul never voted to increase the power of the executive branch.
  • Ron Paul voted against the Patriot Act.
  • Ron Paul voted against regulating the Internet.
  • Ron Paul voted against the Iraq war.

• Ron Paul did not participate in the Congressional pension program.