Aug. 15, 1971 – the day the Federal Reserve "closed the gold window," or stopped stopped trading gold for dollars – marked the seismic event that drove Paul into politics. Without gold, the US currency is backed only by a government promise and Americans will lose their wealth, he has said in stump speeches ever since. At a July 13, 2011, House hearing, Paul asked Bernanke whether gold counted as money.
"When you wake up in the morning, do you care about the price of gold?" he said. "Do you think gold is money?" If not, he added, "why do central banks hold it?"
"It's tradition," Bernanke said.