For conservatives, one of the bright spots of the Occupy Wall Street protests was when millionaire investor Peter Schiff went down to Zuccotti Park with video camera and a sign reading "I Am The 1% - Let's Talk."
On Tuesday, I had the pleasure of speaking with Schiff by telephone in a sweeping interview about his experience at OWS, how the financial media are doing, and ending with his rather frightening view of the economy and the future of our nation (video follows with transcript):
It often amazes that liberals in this country revere New York Times columnist Paul Krugman as being an expert economist.
Take for example Friday's intellectually challenged piece entitled "Bernanke's Perry Problem" in which the Nobel laureate accused prominent Republicans such as the Texas governor and Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan of preventing the Federal Reserve chairman from enacting monetary policy that would save the economy:
We've just spent the past month or so having politicians and the press tell us that if there was no debt-ceiling deal by August 2, the government might default on its debts (of course, Tim Geithner and Barack Obama could indeed have strategically defaulted if they had wished, but work with me here).
But Sunday on Meet the Press, in a remark I expect will not be relayed much if at all by the rest of the establishment press, Alan Greenspan said that default is impossible -- which puts him directly at odds with the rest of Washington's elites and Ben Bernanke, his successor as Federal Reserve chairman. On July 14, Bernanke said: "A default on ... (U.S. Treasury) securities would throw the financial system ... potentially into chaos."
Wait until you see the reason why Greenspan says default is impossible, as carried at CNBC's web site in an item by Patrick Allen:
As NewsBusters has been reporting, the media have been on a full-court press in recent days supporting the President's push to raise taxes.
Doing his part was NBC's David Gregory who trotted out the words of former Vice President Walter Mondale on Sunday's "Meet the Press" to really drive home the point, and then got a huge assist from former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan (video follows with transcript and commentary):
David Gregory on Sunday finally got an answer to his question about extending the Bush tax cuts, but it certainly wasn't what he was expecting.
For those that have been watching "Meet the Press" this month, the host has been grilling his conservative guests about this issue ever since former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told him on August 1 that tax cuts don't pay for themselves.
Having badgered Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) about this earlier in the program with no success, Gregory broached the subject with former House Majority Leader Dick Armey in a subsequent segment.
With a hanging curveball coming into his wheelhouse, Armey whacked a long drive that still hasn't landed (video follows with transcript and commentary):
On Friday's Situation Room, CNN's Jack Cafferty tossed cold water on the Obama administration's "recovery summer" claims, stating that the "current recovery has been one of the worst for job creation ever." Cafferty also criticized the dangerous growth in the national debt, underlining that there "appears to be a rather serious disconnect," as the President requested billions in additional spending.
The CNN commentator began his 5 pm Eastern hour commentary with a contrast between Obama's "massive P.R. campaign" touting the apparent effectiveness of the $860 billion "economic stimulus bill" and the continuing high unemployment figure: "President Obama and Vice President Biden have kicked off a massive P.R. campaign, celebrating what they're calling 'recovery summer'....But the celebration may be premature. Just yesterday, the Labor Department reported new claims for jobless benefits jumped by 12,000 last week- much sharper increase than was expected."
Cafferty touted a recent editorial in the Washington Times which "suggests the administration's 'make-work' jobs program has failed, and that those infrastructure jobs, which are being funded by the taxpayers, will disappear when the stimulus money runs out- soon." He bluntly continued, "Fact is the current recovery has been one of the worst for job creation ever."
As congressional Democrats press on with their attempts to get financial legislation reform passed, a key component has been lacking from the debate: how to handle the government-sponsored enterprises Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac (NYSE:FRE).
Everyone is still looking for a scapegoat for the financial crisis that precipitated the current economic malaise. And one of the popular targets has been former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Greenspan recently testified on Capitol Hill and was pressed about how he may have contributed to the financial crisis. According to Suze Orman, host of CNBC's "The Suze Orman Show," some of the blame should go to Greenspan for a 2004 speech he made to the Credit Union National Association.
Greenspan had said some might have "saved tens of thousands of dollars had they held adjustable-rate mortgages rather than fixed-rate mortgages during the past decade," but he did preface it by saying that wouldn't have been the case if rates adjusted upwards as they did. But Orman, appearing on MSNBC's April 8 "Morning Joe" contended he shouldn't have commented on those mortgages at all.
Invoking the name of objectivist/libertarian writer-philosopher Ayn Rand, hardly a common citation in television news, ABC’s Jake Tapper, on Sunday’s This Week, confronted former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan with how he recognized a “flaw” in his perspective as he had conceded “markets cannot necessarily be trusted to completely police themselves.” Tapper wondered:
But isn't it more than a flaw? Isn't it an indictment of Ayn Rand and the view that laissez-faire capitalism can be expected to function properly, that markets can be trusted to police themselves?
Of course, “laissez-faire capitalism” was not allowed to police itself by letting poorly-run firms fail (other than Lehman) and allowing rewards to successful for firms which did not make bad judgments. Greenspan rejected Tapper’s assumption: “Not at all.” He proceeded to point out “there is no alternative if you want to have economic growth and higher standards of living in a democratic society to have competitive markets.”
A rather shocking thing happened on Sunday's "Meet the Press": host David Gregory asked Alan Greenspan and Henry Paulson if it would be a mistake to let the Bush tax cuts expire.
Chatting with the former Federal Reserve Chairman and former Treasury Secretary, Gregory referenced Tuesday's Wall Street Journal article about what the impact of allowing these tax cuts to expire would be on the budget and the economy.
Gregory first asked Paulson and then Greenspan, "Is that a bad idea?" (video embedded below the fold with transcript, relevant section at 6:48):
In his 1981 inaugural address, former President Ronald Reagan said, "Government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem." Nearly 29 years later, that still holds true according to CNBC "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan.
Both Cramer and Greenspan were guests on NBC's Dec. 13 "Meet the Press" and although neither was making a vain effort to be nostalgic, but instead explained that Congress' deliberations over an "agenda" was creating uncertainty for business.
"I think the priority ought to be get rid of the agenda," Cramer said. "I hear the agenda over and over again from business people. In other words, Congress is stalled on health care. I favor universal health care, everyone does in this country. But Washington is killing job growth, not - and then trying to stimulate it small scale? How much does it cost to bring a new employee in? We don't know. We don't know what the health care will be. We don't know what the tax scheme will be."
"Societies in which the few are allowed to fatten themselves without limit on the labor of many are not just."
A. Friedrich Engels B. William Ayers C. Michelle Obama D. Timothy Rutten
Any of the answers would make sense, but the headline kind of gave it away. It was Timothy Rutten of the LA Times who penned that immortal line in his column of today. In doing so, Rutten echoes other in the MSM, as here and here, who in the wake of the financial markets' travails indulge in a certain anti-capitalist chic.
Let's have some fun deconstructing the intrepid class warrior's musings . . .
Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan spoke with CNBC's Maria Bartiromo Thursday, and although a number of press outlets reported his concerns about the economy being close to a recession, his comments about high oil prices being a function of speculation and lack of supply went largely unnoticed.
This boycott seems especially absurd as Congress is currently deadlocked on an energy bill that would offer Americans any hope of relief at the gas pump (photo courtesy Reuters).
With this in mind, Greenspan said the following on Thursday that should not only be relevant to media members, but also to our political leaders that are about to take a five week vacation without having come close to addressing America's energy crisis:
If there was ever an obvious conflict of interest in economic reporting, this may very well qualify.
NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell evaluated the housing crisis solution proposals of both Democratic presidential hopefuls Sens. Barack Obama (Ill.) and Hillary Clinton (N.Y.) on the March 25 "NBC Nightly News."
"Clinton was the first of the two to sound alarms about the subprime mess with a plan a year ago," Mitchell said. "Obama followed a week later with a call for a summit. Since then both have gotten more specific."
You might disagree with how he slashed the Fed funds rate during times of economic turmoil as Federal Reserve chairman.
You might have even disavowed him after showing his coziness with the Clinton administration throughout the 1990s. But after 18 years of public service, you can't deny that Alan Greenspan should have a shot in the private sector.
"The economy is slowing down so fast this quarter you can see the skid marks as it slams on the brakes," Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, said in an Associated Press story on December 20.
The story also quoted former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who isn't optimistic either.
On Sunday's This Week, ABC's George Stephanopoulos pressed former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan to agree on the wisdom of raising taxes. Stephanopoulos wondered “what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire?” and suggested that to “shore up” Social Security and Medicate that Congress “limit the tax cuts.”
Citing a Congressional Budget Office study, “which was just stunning to me,” Stephanopoulos recounted how “it said that in the last two years -- from 2003 to 2005 -- the increase in income for the top one percent exceeded the total income of the bottom 20 percent. Given that, what would be wrong with letting the tax cuts for the top one percent expire and plowing that money into education?” Following up, Stephanopoulos proposed: “If you have long-term problems in Medicare and then also in Social Security, wouldn't it make sense to, in addition to limiting them as I know you would like to do, to limit the tax cuts and shore up the programs in that way?” Stephanopoulos started the interview by summarizing John Edwards' claim that “average Americans are not winning in this current economy and the policies that we've been following for a long time are part of the reason.” Greenspan retorted: “His remedies will make it worse.”
As oil flirts with $100 a barrel, guess who is getting gold stars for reporting ... NPR.
National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" stories on $100 a barrel oil this week have featured some underreported views on the industry: The economy is surviving the higher costs, and the oil companies are using the profits for future exploration.
Reporter Jim Zarroli told NPR listeners what was supposed to happen, saying, "Time and again, economists from Alan Greenspan on down have warned that oil prices are inflationary ... Interest rates go up, borrowing becomes more difficult, and growth slows."
But, Zarroli also pointed out the unique trend that gets little coverage: Despite the rise in oil prices since March 2007, the economy has continued to grow at a strong pace.
There's more than one way to survive the rising cost of oil.
What's another $500 taken out of your paycheck over the course of a year? It probably isn't much to global warming alarmists like Al Gore, but that's what it could cost you if legislation pending in the U.S. Senate is passed into law.
Does that $500 have your attention? Well, multiply that times every member of your immediate family.
According to a November 11 Washington Times editorial, a bill introduced in the Senate by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) that would require companies to scale back greenhouse-gas emissions could cost Americans $4 trillion to $6 trillion over the next 40 years.
If that bill were passed and made law, the tax would cost every man, woman and child - more than 303 million Americans - $494 a year, a significant burden on the U.S. economy.
The likely ousting of Merrill Lynch CEO Stanley O’Neal prompted CBS correspondent Randall Pinkston to tell viewers to expect the worst as far as the stock market goes.
“O'Neal's likely exit sets the stage for another rough ride on Wall Street this week with more dramatic peaks expected in crude oil prices which hit nearly $92 a barrel last week and further uncertainty in the housing market,” Pinkston said.
The similarities are eerie. On Oct. 19, 1987, the day of the Black Monday stock market crash there was trouble from the Iranians, a two-term Republican president nearing the end of his term and a network TV news media voicing warnings the American economy might be doomed. Except this day in 1987, the stock market dropped 508 points.
“It’s a day that will be in bold print in history books – Black Monday, October 19th, 1987, when the stock market went into a freefall, losing more in one day than it did on Black Tuesday in 1929,” anchor Tom Brokaw said on the Oct. 19, 1987, NBC “Nightly News.” “And while conditions are much stronger now than they were then, today’s precipitous plunge struck fear in the hearts and pocketbooks of even Wall Street veterans.”
CNN even warned for the worst: “[N]ow some analysts argue that the stock market’s recent activity is heading for recession, if not depression in the 1990s,” said CNN correspondent Mark Left on the Oct. 19, 1987, CNN “PrimeNews.”
Sounds like liberal hogwash, doesn’t it? Well, that’s how CNN Senior Business Correspondent Ali Velshi reacted to a CNN-Opinion Research poll.
“Get this: 46 percent of Americans think the economy is in a recession – 46 percent. Nearly half of all Americans think that we're in a recession,” Velshi said on the October 18 “American Morning.”
However, Velshi told viewers the economy isn’t in recession by textbook definition.
“[T]his is interesting, because by official standards, we're not in a recession,” he said. “Recession is a sustained decline in economic growth. We haven't seen any decline in economic growth. We’ve seen some decline, but not a sustained decline.”
The title of Laura Ingraham's new book is "Power to the People," and the conservative commentator paraded power of her own to burn in her smackdown with Chris Matthews on this afternoon's "Hardball." The bone of contention was Matthews's suggestion that former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan had, in his new book, said that oil was the key to the Bush administration's decision to go to war in Iraq.
As Brent Baker noted, NBC’s Matt Lauer claimed the "liberal bloggers" were going to have a field day with Alan Greenspan’s new memoir – especially the remarks critical of Bush. But before the bloggers jumped, the whole Bush-bashing publicity cycle began with the Dinosaur Media. Their field day began with the newspapers, in particular, Bob Woodward at the Washington Post (noted here on NB by Matthew Sheffield), and continued in the usual network television bashing cycle, starting with "60 Minutes" on CBS. NBC's "Today" demonstrated its routine appetite to inflict another bad-news bruising on the GOP.
“Harsh accusation,” ABC anchor Dan Harris teased at the top of Sunday's World News as he highlighted how “one of the most respected figures in Washington says the Bush administration went to war in Iraq because of oil.” Harris soon referred to it as “an eyebrow raising allegation on Iraq” in a new book from Alan Greenspan, the former Chairman of the Federal Reserve. But after a Monday Washington Post story, in which Greenspan declared that oil was “not the administration's motive,” and appearance by on the Today show made it abundantly clear the inaccuracy of the implication that Greenspan was somehow endorsing a left-wing conspiracy theory about how George W. Bush went to war to financially benefit Dick Cheney's oil industry friends, ABC's World News on Monday failed to offer any correction for its incendiary, and erroneous, reporting. In fact, the September 17 World News didn't mention Greenspan at all.
It's fitting that now that he's left his post as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan's words are being as closely scrutinized as they were back in his days at the Fed.
Not carefully enough, though, it seems.
Over the weekend, a media firestorm errupted after the Washington Post printed a news article claiming that in his memoirs, Greenspan said the ouster of the Saddam Hussein government was just about oil.