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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Sunday, March 31, 2013


We're doomed, says David Stockman, shouting from the top spot of the New York Times Sunday Review. The fiscal follies of the Fed from Alan Greenspan to Ben Bernanke have set us up for financial Armageddon.

There is certainly truth to Stockman's concerns about the impact of crony capitalism on our economy. But those concerns would be far better expressed from someone who wasn't present at the creation of the fiscal irresponsibility that now threatens our existence.

Stockman blithely notes about halfway through his magnum opus:
The destruction of fiscal rectitude under Ronald Reagan — one reason I resigned as his budget chief in 1985 — was the greatest of his many dramatic acts. It created a template for the Republicans’ utter abandonment of the balanced-budget policies of Calvin Coolidge and allowed George W. Bush to dive into the deep end, bankrupting the nation through two misbegotten and unfinanced wars, a giant expansion of Medicare and a tax-cutting spree for the wealthy that turned K Street lobbyists into the de facto office of national tax policy. In effect, the G.O.P. embraced Keynesianism — for the wealthy. 
Stockman -- who "installed himself" as CEO of an automobile interior parts manufacturer, was ousted days before the company declared bankruptcy, was indicted for securities fraud only to see the charges dropped in the waning days of the Bush administration -- seems oblivious to his own role in this debacle.

His resignation came after four years as Reagan's budget chief and his famed trip to the "woodshed" for telling Emperor Reagan that supply side economics had no clothes is unvarnished hooey.

The Times is also gracious in its memory lapse, allowing him to trumpet his new book without much interest in dredging up Stockman's complicity.

It's unfortunate the messenger is so flawed because it is worth repeating his finger-pointing at the Bush actions, which include Bernanke's appointment, two "misbegotten an unfinanced wars" and a sweetheart deal for insurers and pharmaceutical companies with the Medicare prescription benefit, not to mention the tax-cutting spree, has taken us from the budget surplus of the Clinton years to the massive deficits we are dealing with today.

Maybe we ought to be taking Times' editors to the woodshed today.

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