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It may have taken 34 years, but Ron Paul has arrived, and he doesn't plan to squander the moment. His agenda includes landing the chairmanship of the House Financial Services Committee panel that oversees monetary policy—a job that will give him the power to push legislation reining in the central bank and to haul Fed governors up to Capitol Hill for hearings.
The prospect has Wall Street, Fed officials, and even Republican House leaders worried that Paul's agenda could roil the markets and make a mockery of the U.S. financial system. This is a man, after all, who entered politics because President Richard Nixon bucked the gold standard in 1971, and now wants to make gold and silver legal tender. He is pressing for an audit of the Fort Knox bullion depository and, earlier this year, grilled Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke about the central bank's alleged funding of Watergate and Saddam Hussein's nuclear program. Bernanke called the charges "absolutely bizarre."