Passport

Palin: Go Galt!

Earlier today, former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin gave a speech to a group of investors in Hong Kong, for which the brokerage firm CLSA allegedly paid her $300,000. Former McCain foreign-policy adviser Randy Scheunemann and a bevy of other veteran Republican aides reportedly prepped Palin for the speech, which Politico and ...

580614_090923_palin2.jpg
Alaska Governor Sarah Palin gives her farewell speech as she officially resigns and Sean Parnell is sworn in as the new Governor and Craig E. Campbell is sworn in as the new Lieutenant Governor Sunday afternoon, July 26, 2009 at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks, Alaska during the annual Governor's Picnic. (Eric Engman / Getty Images) FAIRBANKS, AK - JULY 26: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin serves the public hot dogs before officially resigning during the annual Governor's Picnic July 26, 2009 at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks, Alaska. Sean Parnell was sworn in as the new Governor and Craig E. Campbell the new Lieutenant Governor. (Photo by Eric Engman/Getty Images)

Earlier today, former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin gave a speech to a group of investors in Hong Kong, for which the brokerage firm CLSA allegedly paid her $300,000.

Former McCain foreign-policy adviser Randy Scheunemann and a bevy of other veteran Republican aides reportedly prepped Palin for the speech, which Politico and other outlets have suggested implies she's prepping herself for 2012.

No reporters were allowed into the private event, but some investors passed good information on to Bloomberg News (which dryly notes that Palin first got a U.S. passport in 2007). The Wall Street Journal also seems to have some inside sources. Washington Wire offers a number of lengthy quotes.

Earlier today, former Alaska governor and Republican vice-presidential hopeful Sarah Palin gave a speech to a group of investors in Hong Kong, for which the brokerage firm CLSA allegedly paid her $300,000.

Former McCain foreign-policy adviser Randy Scheunemann and a bevy of other veteran Republican aides reportedly prepped Palin for the speech, which Politico and other outlets have suggested implies she’s prepping herself for 2012.

No reporters were allowed into the private event, but some investors passed good information on to Bloomberg News (which dryly notes that Palin first got a U.S. passport in 2007). The Wall Street Journal also seems to have some inside sources. Washington Wire offers a number of lengthy quotes.

Let’s take a look.

The foreign-policy sections were something of a snooze — some gentle urging for China to become more responsible on human rights, some criticism of its treatment of ethnic minorities and aiming of arms at Taiwan, some commentary on the trade and currency imbalances, some criticism of the United States for utilizing China as a “lender of first resort.”

Regarding economics and the recession, though, Palin got a lot more interesting.

Foremost, she pinned the blame for the financial crisis on the U.S. Federal Reserve. Not the interplay of investment-bank profits, trade imbalances, the rise of securitization, the creation of zero-deposit loans, oil prices, the housing bubble, the credit rating agencies, and other commonly cited factors. Just the Fed.

“How can we discuss reform without addressing the government policies at the root of the problems? The root of the collapse? And how can we think that setting up the Fed as the monitor of systemic risk in the financial sector will result in meaningful reform?,” she said. “The words ‘fox’ and ‘henhouse’ come to mind. The Fed’s decisions helped create the bubble. Look at the root cause of most asset bubbles, and you’ll see the Fed somewhere in the background.”

She added, “The government forced lending institutions to give loans to people who, as I say, couldn’t afford them.” (Emphasis mine. These assertions reportedly caused two observers to walk out, saying “It’s awful.” Notably, the Chinese government actually does force banks to lend.)

Finally: “[Alaskans] have much in common with Hong Kong. We’re both young and transient, independent and libertarian. Places that continue to show the world, the power and the resilience of the free-market system at a time when too many are questioning it.” (Emphasis mine.)

It seems Palin — whose prior public pronouncements have been somewhat ideologically incoherent — has finally picked her strand of conservatism: libertarianism. It’s a choice that makes sense. If the economy recovers well by 2012, conservatives of all stripes will have, well, several trillion reasons to talk about government spending and U.S. deficits.

But, I really think if Palin wants to establish her economic conservative credentials she should head back to the statehouse and encourage the state to go Galt — turning Alaska into the United States’ Hong Kong, a relatively tax-free, regulation-free, federal government-free zone. It would be rough. Alaska receives more federal subsidies per capita than any other state. But managing the Last Frontier without this Washington cash would demonstrate her executive prowess — and would show that no entity should need interventionist government life-support to thrive.

But, sigh, I guess she’ll probably just continue to brush-up on foreign policy and beef up her conservative credentials in more conventional ways.

Photo of Palin’s resignation speech by Eric Engman/Getty Images

Annie Lowrey is assistant editor at FP.

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