This is one of those things that explains why some people you see at Starbucks sometimes have QWERTY or FGHJK imprinted backwards on their foreheads.
There are a lot of terrible economists, advisers and government officials from the last decade or two who ought to have the decency to follow Mitt Romney’s remedy to “self deport,” or at least feel enough shame and embarrassment for their catastrophic failures while in office to refrain from further public life. Maybe they can come out for rhetorical flogging on America’s annual Day of Atonement.
One group would be led by people who lied us into wars, or wrote memos justifying torture or helped choreograph it while sitting safely in the Executive Office Building or covered it up later. Another group would be reserved for officials who caused millions of people to suffer because of stunningly bad economic advice and then blamed it on deficits.
At the top of that latter list that includes Robert Rubin and fellow Rubinites and Goldman Sachs alums would be Alan Greenspan, the man the media once worshiped as the “Maestro.” You’ll recall it was Greenspan who, months after the financial system he didn’t understand and failed to oversee blew itself up and nearly brought down the US economy, conceded to Congress that he’d made a mistake. His ideology incorrectly assumed financial markets are self-correcting and could be left to their own greedy devices, but it turned out this was wrong, he said. Catastrophically wrong. That’s what you call a permanently disqualifying mistake.
But that was in 2009, and since then, Alan Greenspan has forgotten what he said and hopes you have too. And because it’s convenient to their own beliefs, others still want to know his take on what’s wrong with the economy, especially if it reinforces their own misconceptions. And so there he was being interviewed by Larry Kudlow.
Here’s Krugman’s quick list of things to remember about the “Maestro’s judgment:
. . . the man who insisted that credit default swaps had made the financial system stable, that there was no housing bubble, that the housing market was poised for recovery in 2006, telling us that with interest rates at their lowest levels ever, what we need to worry about most is … the threat of rising interest rates.
The principal hope in a democracy is that as we muddle forward and make mistakes, we learn from them and eventually reject the false ideas and prophets. But the Constitution’s First Amendment is based on faith, hope this all works out; there are no guarantees, and the know nothings and the shoulda known betters will always exploit that.