Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blame The Current Mess On Ben Stein's Father?

Writes Chris Westley:

By demeanor, Herb Stein was a lovable and funny man, and very smart. (I worked a few steps from his office once, as a college intern.) But in terms of his professional contribution as Richard Nixon's chief economic advisor, Stein played the role of buffer between Nixon's desire to socialize and the market's desire to correct, and in the process he set the standard for many DC-based economists who advocated the bailout last week. The early 1970s were similar to today in that they followed years of political manipulation of the economy, leading to a major correction, which led to a crisis for the political class and the need to socialize in order to avoid it. In Stein's case, it was his reputation as an economist working behind the scenes that enabled Nixon to close the gold window and establish the dollar as a fiat currency and therefore enable the largest wealth redistributions in history. Stein's example reminds one of the full cost of public financing of intellectual activity. Let's add the bailout to this cost.

Westley also blames, among others, Milton Friedman, George W. Bush, Karl Marx and Barney Frank. His full list with thumbnail descriptions of their evil deeds is here.

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