Today on Blogcritics
Home » Greenspan Is Right About The Republicans And The Economy

Greenspan Is Right About The Republicans And The Economy

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Many on the right are lamenting the "conversion" of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and will likely start to discredit him for committing the unforgivable heresy of praising Clinton and criticizing Bush. Specifically, he praised Clinton for his fiscal-minded policies and focus on the spending deficit. Conversely, he criticized Bush and the Republican Congress for its out-of-control spending and divorce with fiscal discipline. He has it exactly right — the Democrats did not win in 2006, the Republicans lost.

In the information age, or more appropriately the disinformation age, pundits on both sides will spin Greenspan's remarks and globalize them into what they aren't. Greenspan remains, legitimately so, a libertarian Republican. This is not an endorsement of Hillary-care which will likely be re-introduced if she gets elected. However, the fact remains that at least "tax and spend" liberalism is mathematically coherent compared to "tax-cut and spend" Republicanism. Call it what you want, but it's not a conservative policy and that is why the conservatives have not bailed out the Republicans in 2006 and aren't contributing at high levels in 2008. The Republicans had a golden opportunity to cut the massive waste and pork from the federal government's budget and showed themselves all too ready to increase it at far greater levels than any Democratic administration.

Greenspan's book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, spells out some of his criticism and praise of US economic policies of his time at the helm of the Fed. The timing of the book could produce real intelligent discussion on economic policies, but sadly it will not. We don't debate ideas, we duel with soundbites.

The fact remains, deficits do matter. The technical term for a family that routinely deficit spends is "bankrupt". The sub-prime mortgage fallout is just another case of what happens when families do this in bulk. Our deficit spending has driven the dollar to record lows against the Euro. Other nations and central banks are concerned about our spending habits and are acting accordingly.

When a few Chinese ministers threatened to sell their US dollars because of policies toward the Yuan, the threat was real. To be fair, this was probably two ministers trying to make inroads into the Communist Party of China, but we should all stand up and take note that our policies have introduced a significant risk of foreign manipulation to our economy. Someone has to make up the difference between our spending and our tax revenue. In this case it was foreign countries like China who may not have our best interests in mind when they make their financial decisions.

President Bush rarely used his veto pen until the Democrats took over Congress. The result was an out-of-control appropriations process where almost every significant bill was laden with pork spending such as the "bridge to nowhere". Pundits can point to Rep. Jefferson (D-LA) who took a $100,000 payoff all they want, but conservatives expect better from their people and don't want politicians who are just as corrupt as Democrats. Illinois Republicans learned that lesson with George Ryan and the result was that the Illinois Republican party is defunct and no longer capable of winning statewide office. The national Republican Party should look at how rampant corruption and waste worked out for the Illinois Republican party… that's their future unless they get it together.

That said, Greenspan is, as are most conservatives, for "tax-cut and spending-cut" and corruption-free policies. Judging from the field of 2008 Republican nominees, it is doubtful that any of them are up to the task of pruning the budget to end the deficit or cleaning up the corruption in Congress. This is why Newt Gingrich is also right that there is an 80-20 chance that there will be a Democratic (probably Hillary Clinton) president in 2008.

Powered by

About John Bambenek

John Bambenek is a political activist and computer security expert. He has his own company Bambenek Consulting in Champaign, IL that specializes in digital forensics and computer security investigations.
  • Maurice

    Well written, John. Thanks for writing something well worth reading.

    Here in Idaho the largest employer is… the state Government! I view the people as the host and government as the parasite. When the parasite becomes larger than the host the host dies!

  • bliffle

    Greenspan has himself to blame for some of this since he seconded the Bush deficit plans and reinforced them with spurious Fed policies. And the hits keep coming from Bernanke.

    Fed policy shouldn’t be used to improve the stock market or the housing market. Nor to make an irresponsible senior executive electable.

  • http://politicalpistachio.blogspot.com Douglas V. Gibbs

    It is a proven fact that tax cuts encourage an economy. Good article.

  • bliffle

    Sorta, Doug. “All else remaining equal” , as they say. But “all else” never does. Federal spending also stimulates an economy. Oops!

    It’s difficult in this case to disentangle the effects of huge deficit spending under Bush from tax cuts.

  • Maurice

    bliffle you are way off, man. Federal spending will never stimulate the economy. Here is a great quote from the always cheerful Walter E. Williams:

    “Bastiat wrote a parable about this that has become known as the “Broken Window Fallacy.” A shopkeeper’s window is broken by a vandal. A crowd forms, sympathizing with the man, but pretty soon, the people start to suggest the boy wasn’t guilty of vandalism; instead, he was a public benefactor, creating economic benefits for everyone in town. After all, fixing the broken window creates employment for the glazier, who will then buy bread and benefit the baker, who will then buy shoes and benefit the cobbler, and so forth.Those are the seen effects of the broken window. What’s unseen is what the shopkeeper would have done with the money had the vandal not broken his window. He might have employed the tailor by purchasing a suit. The broken window produced at least two unseen effects. First, it shifted unemployment from the glazier, who now has a job, to the tailor, who doesn’t. Second, it reduced the shopkeeper’s wealth. Explicitly, had it not been for the vandalism, the shopkeeper would have had a window and a suit; now, he has just a window.”

    Just think of all the things that could be done with the money the government conficates and wastes.

  • Les Slater

    It’s interesting that this comes out as the housing bubble is bleeding itself down starting with sub-prime.

    I neve have been one to emphasise the qualities of the gangs running government during various phases of economic cycles. The economy was showing signs ofstress during Clinton. He just got outin time.

    Greenspan did have his hand in a few bubbles, the more recent being the housing price speculation one.

    Les

  • Clavos

    Nice article, JB.

    You’re dead on with the point about fiscal conservatives abandoning the Republicans because of Bush’s profligate spending.

    I like the way Fred Thompson talks about spending and taxes, but I think Newt’s probably right.

  • http://gmroper.mu.nu GM Roper

    John, well done sir, and right on the money. Republicans need to back away from the tax-cut and spend mentality and return to the fiscal responsibility that we used to expect. Until they do, I’m only voting for Republicans that WILL. If we wanted spendthrifts, we’d vote for Democrats. Oh, wait, America did!

  • bliffle

    Maurice,

    Seems to me you said you are an Engineer, a degreed Engineer, I hope. If so, you must realize by now that the mathematical sophistication of the typical BC participant is arrested at the 10th grade level when they were taught about 2-dimensional XY plots, immediately assumed everything could be represented that simple way and fell asleep for the rest of their educations. They are still arrested, still asleep, and still wrong.

    The latest manifestation of this nitwittism is the laughable “Laffer curve”, a fantasy that was resurrected most recently in NRO using a small number of unrelated and heterogeneous datapoints. Laughable, indeed. But so it goes with such people.

    Maurice: don’t risk becoming a laughingstock by adopting ideas of less knowledgeable students, C students, usually, who are not only poorly trained but usually dominated by extravagant theories of other pinheads.

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    To be fair, federal spending CAN stimulate an economy. When the federal spending is driven by taxation, the inefficiencies of Washington far outweigh the benefit gained. However, in this is important, in the short-term if federal spending is financed by foreign borrowing, there can be stimulation. The problem is, you eventually have to pay it back, with interest, so you take a long-term hit. Long-term in the sense it hits when the people responsible are long gone.

    You might be able to get away with it if you did it wisely to spur growth quickly and stop the borrowing just as fast. However, there is no wisdom to be had in DC, in either party, and any lending comes with consequences (see the dollar prices).

  • bliffle

    How sad that this statement can be made: “Many on the right are lamenting the “conversion” of former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and will likely start to discredit him…”

    As if this position, which is paid for by US taxpayers, were a partisan job to look out for the interests of a particular political party and NOT the best interests of the US citizenry.

  • Les Slater

    Blif,

    The Fed’s role does not include looking out for the best interests of the U.S. citizenry. Where did you hear that?

    Les

  • troll

    right about the economy…but is he right about the oil – ?

  • Maurice

    bliffle

    I am an Engineer (EE). I was a C student myself so I guess I fit right in with your opinion of the rest of BC participants. I have no formal education in Economics but I am a fan of Frederic Bastiat, Walter Williams, and of course Milton Fridman. Here is a quote from Alan Greenspan:

    “Milton Friedman was the most influential economist of the second half of the 20th century…possibly of all of it.”

    BTW did you read the parable and did it make sense to you?

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    Of course Greenspan is right about the oil, but I imagine he’s comments are more nuanced than were presented (I’ll probably get the book today).

    Iraq would have never been on the radar in 2002, 1991 or ever if it weren’t for the fact the region was oil-rich. Oil is a strategic resouce (like it or not) and we need lots of it to keep our country churning. We can have a nice discussion about alternative energy (which I support research in) or drilling for our own oil (which I also support) (or hell, refining our own gas, we import that now too), but right now if we stopped getting enough oil or economy grinds to a halt.

    I think people take a too narrow viewpoint of oil. Sure big oil companies have vested interests, and we can talk about that. But even if the oil companies were populated by philanthropists who took no profit and operated at perfect efficiency, oil remains a critical key point of failure for our nations economy. No oil and you can kiss about every aspect of modern life goodbye.

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    And biffle…

    Be afraid… be very afraid… I agree with you (Re: #11)

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Let’s not grossly misrepresent Greenspan’s point about oil and Iraq. He’s not saying that we went in their to seize their oil, he’s making the obvious even indisputible point that the reason we have strategic interests in that reason at all is the oil. We don’t need to seize Iraq’s oil, but we do need to keep the middle east stable so taht oil keeps flowing.

    Dave

  • troll

    …and had we left well enough alone and let the Chinese and French and Russians etc develop the fields more oil would be flowing today – production remains well below pre-war levels – good job (see the latest Iraq Index for this)

    stability in the middle east…ain’t it grand

    time to go before someone starts yammering about fungibility

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    Yeah, but Iraq and the ME wasn’t exactly left in good shape when we left in 1991. The policy of sanctions that we had all but made it necessary to go back in. It was a stupid policy so let’s place the blame where it belongs, back on Bush Sr. You fight wars to end them, not let them linger for 12 years necessitating going back in. Sanctions don’t work unless they are a prelude to war in the short-term. Look at how the sanctions worked out for Cuba.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Actually, according to Alex Jones this afternoon, when Greenspan turns on Bush it’s a sign that the secret masters of the New World Order are going to use Bush as a scapegoat to direct our attention away from their secret machinations, all of which seem to be targeted on providing cheaper vegetables in Des Moines for some reason.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Realist is actually right. Money drained from the consumer sector has the highest economic multiplier, much higher than capital. That’s why tax breaks for poor and lower middleclass and government benefits have such profound effect: they consume most of their income, have little dicretionary money, and save little.

    Maurice, I read Frederick Bastiat probably a generation before you did. He writes fun parables, my personal favorite is “The Petition Of The Candle Makers”. Unfortunately, his contributions to Economics are slight.

    And I thought you confessed to being a EE, in which case you must have attempted to stagger tune an IF strip at some time and thus understand some of the problems of manipulating a multi-variate closed loop system. Economies are even more complex, and, just as with an IF strip, simplistic ideas will surely lead you astray. Way astray.

    Greenspan miscalculated: he assumed that congress would reign in the careless spending of the irresponsible Bush and Company.That way he got to pretend to be a loyal Bush supporter and still not suffer from the consequences of overspending. Boy, was he wrong. Let him suffer for his crimes.

    Usually, the Fed Chairmans chief task is to fight inflation and thus stabilize the general economy. But does that benefit the average US citizen? Not necessarily. Most US householders principle equity is their home, which generally outpaces inflation. On the other hand, a stable economy reduces the rate of investment by capitalists. Most economists concede that inflation is good, they just argue about the rate.

  • bliffle

    Of course the fabled 800 lb. gorilla in the room is that if we had spent $1trillion on technology and capital investment we could probably have solved ALL our energy requirements for the foreseeable future. And we’d have all the residual benefits of a developed science and engineering base that would assure our position as the world leader. Our USA workers would have improved their wages, capitalists would have a cornucopia of new tech areas to invest in and develop, and the world would come knocking at our door to buy products.

    Plus, we would have worldwide respect.

    Plus, we’d not have lost 4000 (or 5000 or 6000 or whatever…) US soldiers in a lost cause.

    Plus, we could clean our skies and rivers and seas with the same technology.

    The only minus I can think of is that the oil company execs would have to get off their duffs and actually do some work (you know, invest, develop new businesses, transition sunset industries, etc., the kind of things execs used to get paid for) instead of just bribing government officials.

    What we did instead was to just burn up $1trillion and let thousands die. No residual benefit. Pure loss.

    Why? Because of paranoid nightmares?

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    I would disagree with how you frame it, but Iraq borders on a religious debate now with no real way to win.

    However, just because money is spent in Iraq doesn’t exonerate all the waste spent elsewhere. There’s plenty of ways to make up the $1T that don’t involve Iraq. All that pork barrel spending adds up to lots of bridge repairs and R&D development too.

  • Clavos

    A lot of good points in #22, bliffle.

    Especially regarding what could have happened had we invested the bucks in R&D in technology.

    The only part I disagree with is the bit about the oil company execs; as long as the oil lasts (and there are many who say there’s more than 100 years worth still in the ground in one form or another), they don’t really have to do anything other than look eastward to China….

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    The only minus I can think of is that the oil company execs would have to get off their duffs and actually do some work (you know, invest, develop new businesses, transition sunset industries, etc., the kind of things execs used to get paid for) instead of just bribing government officials.

    Do you mean things like funding alternative fuel research or developing solar technology or selling and promoting biofuels or spending $350 million on alternative energy research?

    Seriously. Follow the links. Just like the tobacco companies in the 70s and 80s, the oil companies have been diversifying so that they will achieve their own petroleum independence and likely take us with them.

    Dave

  • troll

    …but bliffle’s point remains that while the companies invest their hundreds of millions in alternatives hundreds of billions are going down the tube…err – forming our investment in a democratic Iraq that is

  • Maurice

    bliffle

    I am going to take your answer as a “no”.

    I remember you but you may not remember me. You tried to pass yourself off as an engineer. You mentioned working on bread boards in the 1980s when the rest of us were running Spice simulations. I was suspicious of your answers then and it seems like you are reluctant to give me a straight answer now. Was up!

  • Maurice

    #20 funny as hell!

  • Clavos

    Interesting comment (#27), Maurice!

    I’m definitely NOT an engineer (and I never saw the other exchange you mentioned), so I had no idea what “you must have attempted to stagger tune an IF strip at some time and thus understand some of the problems of manipulating a multi-variate closed loop system” meant.

    Hmm. An eye-opener…

  • http://www.libertyrepublican.com Dave Nalle

    Clavos, I think it’s something like herding cats only nerdier.

    Dave

  • http://www.libertyrepublican.com Dave Nalle

    …but bliffle’s point remains that while the companies invest their hundreds of millions in alternatives hundreds of billions are going down the tube…err – forming our investment in a democratic Iraq that is

    Yes, but the excesses of the war in Iraq can’t be blamed on the oil companies. Remember, they were never going to lose out. Controlling the refineries and the distribution system they were going to get their profits no matter who actually controlled the oil.

    And I do think it’s important to point out that the oil companies ARE doing something about the problem – at least the more responsible ones. They may be doing it to hedge their bets, but they’re spending a hell of a lot more money than anyone, including the US government on alternative fuels and renewable energy technology development.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    Dave writes:

    “They [oil companies] may be doing it to hedge their bets, but they’re spending a hell of a lot more money than anyone, including the US government on alternative fuels and renewable energy technology development.”

    Of course they are, their livelihood is at stake.

    That’s why I have to laugh at the followers of algore when they try to “debunk” the scientists, such as Richard Lindzen (who are questioning the alarmists’ assumptions), because of the skeptics’ supposed funding by Big Oil, as if the oil companies’ only response to global warming theology is to try to suppress it.

  • troll

    it’s not a matter of allocating blame – it would take more ‘capital’ than the companies control to move the technology along quickly

    can anything but a State-ist approach (as in the early space program) focus enough resources on alternatives to make a difference in a timely fashion – ?

  • Clavos

    One thing the oils have more than anybody else, either the government, or academia: expertise and experience in energy production.

  • Maurice

    Everybody has probably already read this but I will put it here anyway.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com/ Michael J. West

    tax-cut and spend” Republicanism

    I like to think of it as “borrow and spend” Republicanism. ;-)

  • bliffle

    The alternative energyg programs of companies like GM and Exxom are basically window-dressing to fool the easily deceived, like Dave. As a bonus, they get millions, sometimes billions in federal handouts, which they are seldom held accountable for, so that money can be leaked back into traditional business models.

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    No one who receives federal handouts are held accountable… so why should oil companies be any different?

    :)

  • bliffle

    Isn’t the neo-econ program simply to spend every USA dollar and burden every USA asset with debt so that there are no assets left for the democrats to spend on the hated aid to mere people when the dems come back into power?

    Serves two useful purposes: bankrupts the future democrat administration and puts a lot of money in the pockets of themselves and their allies.

    Isn’t that what Grover Norquist has advocated all these years?

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    I’m sure that’s exactly how the defined the problem.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    That’s why I have to laugh at the followers of algore when they try to “debunk” the scientists, such as Richard Lindzen (who are questioning the alarmists’ assumptions), because of the skeptics’ supposed funding by Big Oil, as if the oil companies’ only response to global warming theology is to try to suppress it.

    The numbers tell the story. Chevron spent $25,000 to fund anti-global warming research and $400,000,000 on alternative energy research.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Isn’t that what Grover Norquist has advocated all these years?

    Not at all from what I’ve seen and read. He advocates radical reduction of government spending and creating a consensus on the issue so strong that democrats feel compelled to go along with the idea too. I’ve heard this claim before, but my research suggests it’s apocryphal.

    In this interview he’s clearly advocating spending cuts.

    Dave

  • troll

    *The numbers tell the story. Chevron spent $25,000 to fund anti-global warming research and $400,000,000 on alternative energy research.*

    sounds like a lot but the point is that the State is spending that much in Iraq every couple of days

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    And it’s absolutely fallicious to claim that simply because the money is being spent that money is unavailable for alternative energy.

    First, just because money isn’t being spent in Iraq doesn’t mean that an equal amount of money will be spent on something else.

    Second, there are plenty of other sources of waste that could be cut too. You mention Iraq simply because you disagree with the Iraq policy, not because it inherently limits alternative energy spending as if every dollar spent for the DoD comes straight from the DoE.

  • troll

    no John – I mention Iraq because it shows the State’s capability to marshal resources dwarfs the ability of the private sector companies to meet a social goal

  • moonraven

    Federal spending does stimulate the economy. Ever hear of The New Deal?

    And Bush is the perfect scapegoat for the disaster of the “New World Order”–with an IQ aslow as his he will just think it’s all part of “My Pet Goat”–and will wish he could have finished the entire book on 9/11/2001….

  • moonraven

    Greenspan writes:

    “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

    Not exactly what ole Nalle would have you jerkoffs believe he said.

  • bliffle

    So now the question that occurs to one is: which action will the neocons use to justify the other?

    Will they re-iterate their paranoid claim of a Clash Of Cultures to provide cover for an oil grab?

    Or, will they claim a need for an oil grab to cover their paranoid fantasy of a Clash Of Cultures?

    Stay tuned.

  • moonraven

    It doesn’t matter, bliffle.

    The problem is the hundreds of millions of your countrymen whop will believe any crock of shit they tell them.

    Nalle is a perfect example of someone who claims to think critically while inserting his nose as close as possible to Dick Cheney’s anus.

  • bliffle

    Or, will they use the laughable Iraq Liberation Altruism as a cover for both an oil grab and their paranoid fantasy of a Clash Of Cultures?

    Stay tuned.

  • Maurice

    #46 huh?

    Please read “Free to Choose” by Milton Friedman. He explains in great detail how the economic crash which brought on the Great Depression was caused by the Fed and could have recovered much faster if not for the New Deal.

    I am citing a Nobel prize winner. Is there a better source for economic info?

  • Clavos

    No there isn’t, Maurice, but mr will tell you she is.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    When Bliffle and MR start trading attaboys the discussion degenerates into utter meaninglessness with remarkable speed.

    Dave

  • bliffle

    Nobel Prize Winner? Oh, you mean the rump prize invented recently by a swedish Bank, but not part of the Real Nobel Prize? THAT guy?

    Friedman would have been a better economist if he hadn’t been so pussy-whipped by that nazi hariden of a wife.

  • Clavos

    DING! Round One!!

    harridan

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Mr. Greenspan produced another bombshell that couldn’t have made the Bushies very happy:
    “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows — the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

    Everyone [even me occasionally] rolls their eyes when someone on the left says, No blood for oil. Maybe time to rethink that?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Oops, I see MR beat me to the punch on this one. Sorry.

  • The Obnoxious American

    The war may concern oil, but that doesn’t translate into an “oil grab” of any kind. And I have yet to see any evidence of that happening.

    Furthermore, greenspan is attacking bush from the right, he is not “converting.” His attacks are legit, I am equally upset with Bush for wasting the opportunity to show the country that the Right wing viewpoints are the best. It’s worth noting that Bush acted this way to seem somewhat bipartisan, which was idiotic as he just wound up making both sides angry at him. And the GOP lost control in 2006 as a result.

    At the end of the day, while Bush messed up in practice, it doesn’t change the fact that the underlying principles of the GOP are sound. Electing a dem to the white house in 2008 won’t make anyone, especially greenspan happy.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Incorrect, Mr. Obnoxious. It would make at least 50 million Democrats and Dem-leaning independents very happy indeed. Your own mileage, as they say, may vary.

  • moonraven

    Milton Friedman???????????????????????

    Give us a fucking break. His Chicago Boys neoliberlism put all the economies of Latin America in the toilet–where most of them, sadly, still reside.

  • Clavos

    “His Chicago Boys neoliberlism put all the economies of Latin America in the toilet–where most of them, sadly, still reside.”

    Tell that to the Chilenos.

  • Clavos

    “Incorrect, Mr. Obnoxious. It would make at least 50 million Democrats and Dem-leaning independents very happy indeed”

    They will be an improvement over Bush’s tax-cut-and-spend policies; we’ll just go back to the traditional democrat tax-and-spend.

    But it won’t make me happy, not until we cut back spending substantially.

    But neither the reps or the dems are willing to do that; it’s too easy for both sides to buy votes with gummint spending.

  • troll

    *Tell that to the Chilenos.*

    I would…but they were disappeared

  • Clavos

    A straw man, troll.

    Has nothing to do with Friedman’s involvement in Chile.

    Besides, there are still over 16 million of them enjoying the most prosperous economy in LatAm, courtesy of Mr. Friedman

  • troll

    sorry Clavos – Friedman will never be free of his association with Pinochet and those heady days of repression…no straw man there

  • Clavos

    Ah, so Friedman wasn’t really down there to help Pinochet set up a viable economy, but rather as a hit man.

    That’s interesting, troll, I didn’t know that.

    Learn something new every day….

  • troll

    si nails – an economic hit man

    the argument goes – he couldn’t have run his economic experiments without a Dictator to knock heads

  • Clavos

    And what’s his version?

  • troll

    that Pinochet was an embarrassing necessity

  • Clavos

    The bottom line, of course, is Chile has a strong and viable economy.

    Mussolini DID make the trains run on time.

    And Mao DID start China on the road to modernization.

    Friedman didn’t run the country, just the economy.

    Nor, as far as I know, did he kill anyone or cause anyone to be killed (at least not knowingly). I’d say that on balance, he did more good than harm down there.

  • troll

    the bottom line is that the the end does not justify the means

  • http://www.parttimepundit.com John Bambenek

    The bottom line is that guilt by association is still a fallacy.

  • Clavos

    No, of course not.

    But there’s no reason to condemn Friedman’s activities in Chile, either.

    What he did was good, not bad.

    It seems to me you’re applying a guilt by association standard here.

  • Lumpy

    Let’s give Pinochet some credit. He took Chile from a bankrupt socialist hellhole to a prosperous modern country. Friedman helped, but Pinochet did most of the hard work. When the international socialist lynch mob tried him in their kangaroo court in England he kept asking why he wasn’t being tried in Chile. And the truth was that they knew no jury in Chile would convict the man who was their national savior.

  • troll

    Friedman merely demonstrated once again that fascism works as the economic response to anti-capitalist movements…

    his favorite bumper sticker was ‘eat your weak and thrive’…at least that’s what I heard

    was he guilty of ‘murder’ – ?

    “once the rockets go up who cares where they come down…that’s not my department…said Werner von Braun” (T Lehrer)

    Lumpy – the mines weren’t nationalized until Allende was elected…socialism survived a whole two years in Chile

  • Clavos

    And yet, Chile (and its 16 million citizens) is thriving (without socialism).

    And Milton Friedman is the reason.

    The bumper sticker is, I’m certain, apocryphal; Friedman wasn’t the type to think in bumper stickerese.

  • troll

    following Pinochet’s implementation of Friedman’s policies Chile went through a 15 year period of 10 to 20% unemployment punctuated by recessions in which the rate increased by 50% or more – presently it’s about 8%

    and that’s not even considering the impact of constant high inflation on the non-owner class

    I question the premise that State underwritten capitalism is particularly preferable to socialism

    (…and of course I made the bumper sticker thing up oh gullible one)

  • Clavos

    Vhile’s economy was such a basket case prior to Friedman’s intervention, a multi-year period of adjustment was inevitable.

    “I question the premise that State underwritten capitalism is particularly preferable to socialism”

    Fair enough. I question the premise that socialism is preferable to any form of capitalism.

    I didn’t accept that the bumper sticker was real. How am I gullible?

  • troll

    ‘period of adjustment’ – ya gotta love it

  • Clavos

    Grouch

  • troll

    …and since State capitalism is a form of socialism I’m not sure that your mimicry works

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Socialism and Capitalism are not opposites so the statements about one being preferable to the other are absurd.

    There is nothing wrong with money, which is just a medium of exchange, just as there is nothing wrong, indeed it is rather noble, that the more capable should care for those less able. It also helps to bind a society together in their shared experience, which brings many other ancillary benefits.

    It seems to be a very odd and very American vision that any kind of collective social action is inherently wrong. Is it perhaps a hangover from the days when you were all made to feel that Communism was a threat to the very existence of the USA?

  • moonraven

    Sorry, oh ignorant assholes who do not:

    1. live in Latin America
    2. know shit about the area.

    I would like clavos to post the gini coefficient for Chile–which is second only to Brazil in the most unequal distribution of wealth in the hemisphere.

    Then he can proceed to EAT it–decimal by decimal.

    The most thriving economy in the hemisphere–and second in the world–is not Chile’s. It is Venezuela’s.

    Viva Chavez, cabrones!

  • JustOneMan

    Greenspan is another old fart trying to rewrite history in an attempt to preserve his legacy…

    I guess he was worried that all of his other retired “tribesman” retiring to Florida would think he turned into a putz…well he has.

    Rather than fade away into the sunset he had to try to be political and Bush Bash…instead he is hit in the head by the boomerang of his public record of supporting Bushes fiscal policies…

    He should shut his mouth and just fade away..

    JOM

  • Arch Conservative

    Why hasn’t Moonbat gotten the point yet that no one gives a damn about Latin America or her bullshit Latin American anecdotes?

  • moonraven

    I am the only person who counts on this forum–the rest of you are either Nalle clones or 13-year old beatoff artists– and I do give way more than a damn about Latin America, [Gratuitous vulgarity deleted by Comments Editor].

    As for Lumpy wanting to give Pinochet credit:

    I will give the DEAD fascist fucker credit for murdering at least 5,000 of his countrymen, and for scamming millions in arms deals and for taking Nixon and Kissinger to the cleaners.

    He didn’t take any of it with him to hell, though.

  • moonraven

    JOM:

    Probably the ONE thing we have ever agreed on is that Greenspan is a senile old fart who should just fade away.

    He and his silly Ayn Rand philosophy of objectivism.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    “There is nothing wrong with money, which is just a medium of exchange, just as there is nothing wrong, indeed it is rather noble, that the more capable should care for those less able.”

    I think we all agree on that. Just not on whether charity should be mandatory.

  • bliffle

    “Is it perhaps a hangover from the days when you were all made to feel that Communism was a threat to the very existence of the USA?”

    Yes. Even the language is the same. And Islamism is commonly conflated with communism. Right here on BC.

  • Maurice

    I can tell by the comments that nobody (except for me and Clavos) has read “Free to Choose” and nobody seems to understand how the economy broke down and how we got the depression.

    Oh well. I am going to make a funny comment in one of Nalles old posts!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    I haven’t [and won’t] read the Greenspan tome, but I did enjoy watching Jon Stewart subtly yet devastatingly undercut everything the man said last night as a guest on The Daily Show. They must have agreed in advance not to bring up that embarrassing sentence about oil.

  • http://www.robot-of-the-week.com Christopher Rose

    Communism was never a credible and plausible threat to the USA and radical Islamism isn’t either.

  • troll

    …read the book and saw the show

    Maurice – do you want to discuss Friedman’s theories about the power of ideas and whether or not antisemitism caused the bank failures and depression and the Fed’s restriction on the supply of dollars in ’30 or what – ?

  • Maurice

    troll

    they made a movie from the book “Free to Choose”?

    If you had read the book you wouldn’t be asking the question about anti-Semitism. There is no discussion of anti-Semitism in the book.

  • troll

    tv show in ’80

    ..and just how much are you willing to wager on your memory and claim that: *There is no discussion of anti-Semitism in the book.* – ?

  • troll

    this one’s free Maurice – having trudged off to my dusty library I can recommend that you look specifically at his discussion of the failure of the Bank of America pp 80 – 83

    you might watch your assumptions

  • Maurice

    Troll – thanks, I sit corrected. I just quickly read those pages and you are very right. I was wrong.

    I still say the lions share of the blame for the financial collapse as described by Friedman is the meddling of the Fed.

  • bliffle

    One is well-advised to watch Charlie Rose’ interview of Greenspan. The best I’ve seen. If your locale is so arrested that PBS is unavailable (perhaps you live in Texas), then check here: Charlie Rose.

  • troll

    Maurice – what I got out of Friedman’s argument was that if the Fed had meddled aggressively and differently early on (by increasing dollars in circulation instead of allowing the supply to dry up) the depth of the depression might have been avoided

    imo minarchist libertarian theory is as fallacious as the notion that one can be just a little bit pregnant – for all his protestations to the contrary Friedman was a gung ho State-ist as evidenced by his support of the Pinochet regime with its totalitarian methods for…control…of Chile’s people during the period of draconian policies that he prescribed

  • Maurice

    troll

    I can’t pretend to get into the mind of Friedman…. wait… alright I am going to try. I’m channeling him now… no wait. That’s John Maynard Keynes! Crap!

    Okay, I have no idea what he thought he was doing with Pinochet. Perhaps he was overcome with power.

    At any rate Free to Choose is a great book and I can forgive Milton for making a few human mistakes in his remarkable life. At least he didn’t get a hummer from an intern! He didn’t, right?

  • troll

    …unlike Ms Wimpy Clinton I get the feeling that Rose would have castrated him – so I’d say probably not