Saturday, March 22, 2014

Reagan Administration Economist Dies

Murray L. Weidenbaum, who was President Ronald Reagan’s first chief economic adviser, has died. He was 87.

Weidenbaum, like most other Reagan advisers and Reagan himself, talked free market advocacy, but ended up advancing the state, while carrying a free market banner.

Murray Rothbard wrote in 1982:
One of the reasons we launched the Libertarian Forum way back in 1969 was that a number of "libertarians" had eagerly formed themselves into a (largely unpaid) intellectual bodyguard for the new president, Richard Nixon, and were given to trumpeting the President's allegedly libertarian concerns and designs. Well, we know all too well what happened to that theory...

Perhaps the most shameful Reaganite reaction to the accelerating deficit came from the Administration's three top economists, members of the Council of Economic Advisers, Weidenbaum, Jordan, and Niskanen, all of whom have been advising us that deficits are really not so bad, and that therefore We Should Relax and Enjoy.
And NYT informs:
He was also a prominent advocate of federal revenue-sharing, involving no-strings payments to states and localities. As an assistant secretary of the Treasury under President Richard M. Nixon, he had led a revenue-sharing initiative...

Though fiscally conservative, Mr. Weidenbaum was more moderate than some of his peers in the White House. He... favored compromising with Democrats in Congress on raising tax revenue...

Bottom line, he was a pro-goverment economic meddler, who really didn't trust free markets. In a 1982 op-ed in NYT, while Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, he wrote:

The continuing presence of high interest rates, large budget deficits, high unemployment and modest economic growth surely signals that, in our dynamic, complex economy, economic policy cannot be placed on automatic pilot.

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