Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Schiff for Senate

We have several times, at Bill's behest, linked to interviews of Peter Schiff a maverick economist known for his gloomy but accurate economic forecasts. Now according to an article by James Pethokis at U.S. News there is a movement to get Schiff to run for the U.S. Senate in Connecticut. Given that his potential opponent would be Chris Dodd, a man largely responsible for the financial meltdown, such a race would be extremely enlightening. Here's Schiff's agenda as taken from his website:

For the last several years, Peter Schiff had been predicting a severe correction in the stock, credit, and housing markets. These predictions were highly unpopular; he was often mocked and ridiculed by other so-called investment experts. In late 2008, Peter's predictions were largely vindicated, and a shocked consensus took notice.

While it's important to recall that he was accurate in these particular predictions, his solutions are often lost in the media frenzy. In his books, op-ed pieces, and countless television interviews, Peter has offered the following set of solutions to restore economic viability to our great republic.

1. Increase savings and production. People need to start saving and paying down credit card debt, and the US needs to become a net producer and manufacturer of goods once again.

2. Vote no on all bailouts. Instead, the government should begin eradicating grotesque budget deficits and national debt by reigning in profligate spending.

3. Allow the recession to run its course and rebuild quickly from a fresh start. "Let it collapse today so it can prosper tomorrow." To use a crude analogy, wildfires are devastating in the short term, but they are extremely beneficial in the long run for the entire ecology. Currently, the trillions of dollars of new government spending is akin to pouring gasoline on the fire. It will only serve to exacerbate the problem and delay meaningful recovery.

4. Let the free market operate without inefficient, ineffective, and cumbersome government involvement. The government should enforce the integrity of free markets, not manipulate them.

5. Drastically cut federal spending. It's time to quit over spending and over borrowing and start living within our means.

6. Cut corporate and personal income taxes to spur savings, job growth, and real industrial production.

7. Minimize corporate regulation. If you allow the free market to operate, businesses and banks which accrue massive debt will fail. More efficient and fiscally responsible banks and institutions will prevail and restore prosperity to the economy.

8. Restore the value of the US dollar. Since 2002, the US dollar has been devalued by nearly 30%. Put a stop to the Federal Reserve setting artificial interest rates and printing trillions of dollars out of thin air. Instead, get the Fed out of the markets and bring back balanced budgets, low taxes, and robust production.

If these policies continue to be rejected, Peter predicts a complete collapse of the U.S. dollar and extreme hyperinflation sooner rather than later (or much sooner than expected). Hyperinflation, due to a devalued dollar, is nothing more than an invisible tax on our future prosperity. However, if these solutions are enacted, a period of short term pain will be followed by a sustained economic boom, based not on artificial bubbles, but real value. Considering he was right about the stock market, credit, and housing bubble collapse, we should take a long, hard look at his proposed alternatives.

If Schiff decides not to run in Connecticut I wonder if he'd be interested in moving to Pennsylvania to run against Arlen Specter. I'd be willing to pay his way.


Re: The Chimp and the Stimulus

The post on the Chimp Cartoon has elicited some interesting feedback. Among my students who have responded, the African-American students, not surprisingly, disagreed with my contention that there was no reason to think that racial malice was intended by the cartoonist. White students, however, overwhelmingly thought that the contretemps was an attempt to make something out of nothing.

One thing this controversy has confirmed is that postmoderns are right when they remind us that how we see things is colored by our experience and our perspective. It's so hard to find common ground on some of these issues because the narratives we live by have such a powerful grip on how we see events. What we see depends on who we are and what we have experienced. This being so, one wonders what purpose is served by having the kind of conversation on race that Attorney General Holder desires. Without common ground, without common understandings, the postmodern tells us, seeking to change minds is futile. All we can do is bring power to bear to force our interpretation on those who disagree with us. If this is right it's a real tragedy for our nation.

Anyway, I've posted some representative replies on our Feedback page. Feliz lectura.