Monday, April 01, 2013


David Stockman's jeremiad in yesterday's New York Times was unpersuasive to people who know something about economics more or less across the political spectrum, but it's connecting with a large chunk of the public: the op-ed is currently the Times's most e-mailed article, and is the second-most e-mailed article of the past week. Stockman's forthcoming book, The Great Deformation -- due to be released tomorrow -- is at #10 on Amazon's bestseller list.

And no, this isn't a right-wing publisher pushing the book up the list with bulk buys. (Stockman's publisher, PublicAffairs, is not right-wing, or previously known for that sort of bulk buying.)

The Stockman op-ed isn't purely right-wing anyway. Paul Krugman denounced the op-ed as
cranky old man stuff, the kind of thing you get from people who read Investors Business Daily, listen to Rush Limbaugh, and maybe, if they’re unusually teched up, get investment advice from Zero Hedge.
But the usual suspects on the right aren't rallying around Stockman. Only a few right-wing blogs are citing him. He wasn't linked at Fox Nation. At Free Republic, the response to Stockamn is muted. There's nothing at the Investor's Business Daily op-ed page (which is like the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, except even more right-leaning). I don't expect a rave review from Limbaugh.

It's obvious why the hardcore right-wingers wouldn't embrace Stockman's message: he's obsessed with debt, and he makes the obvious point that Saint Reagan increased our debt. He praises Glass-Steagall (one of the few government interventions in the economy he actually likes). He says the current system "periodically lavishes the top 1 percent with speculative windfalls" (as if that's a bad thing!).

Stockman's message is probably connecting with Ron Paul fans -- he's against "crony capitalism" but also the New Deal; he opposes Too Big to Fail but also federal deposit insurance for small savers.

I guess there are a lot of people who respond to that message rather than the pure Limbaugh/Fox message. But I wish the people moved by this message would fight as hard to require big banks to face real risk from speculative investments as they do to, say, end the Fed!!! Alas, no -- the part of this that really moves them is the denunciation of "big government." So they're useful idiots for the GOP.


Victor said...

Pardon me if I skip the poster boy for "Voodoo Economic's" take on the economic state of things.

By all measurable means, things in America started going downhill with Nixon, but they started to plummet down a mountain like some out of control extreme skier, the moment Ronnie put his hand on the Bible, and laughably swore to uphold The Constitution.
And Bush II was like someone jumping out of an airplane without a parachute, depending on faith that Jesus to save them.

We'd be looking at a different, better America, if Carter had won in '80.

Cirze said...

Nicely put.

Krugman's commentary says just about the same thing but not so succinctly.

Alas, no -- the part of this that really moves them is the denunciation of "big government." So they're useful idiots for the GOP.

Examinator said...

Genesis lost verses says Big population begets big governments (more people in special interest groups).

Idiot ideas That deny this begets more idiots.

so sayeth common sense

White Hat said...

Stockman has no credibility among economists. He promoted trickle-down.

And now he has broken the tribal bond by criticizing "one of his own," so he has to be disowned by The Stupids too. It's the last we hear from Stockman.