This Sunday I picked up the Washington Post and read their opinion section and was thoroughly shocked by an inane opinion piece by Donald Luskin. His "contribution" to economic discourse was called "Quit Doling Out That Bad-Economy Line" It was an inexplicable, incomprehensible column that ran awfully long, whose argument is basically that the economy’s fine
It would have been an odd argument to make on any day for the past six months, but being printed yesterday while US and the world markets were collapsing, its insane. Of course Luskin didn't know that when his opinion piece was printed we were going to have a complete financial meltdown.
Look at some of the headlines being thrown out there this morning: World Stocks Sink... Meltdown Monday... US Stocks Sharply Lower... Deal: Merrill Sells Itself To Bank Of America For $50 Billion... Lehman Files For Bankruptcy... Fed Takes Measures To Aid Financial Markets... “Once-in-a-Century” Financial Crisis ... Markets Shaken as Two Big Banks Falter... Wall Street Meltdown... Insurance Giant AIG Scrambles For Cash... Banks Roll Out $70 Billion Loan Program... AIG SENDS AN S.O.S.... U.S. Trade Deficit of $62.2 Billion Exceeds Forecast... Greenspan: America Can't Afford McCain's Tax Plan... Dow Jones Plummets in Early Trading... Stocks in U.S. Drop as Lehman Bankruptcy Deepens Turmoil in Credit Markets... Banks borrow more from Fed...
Luskin did what every typical conservative "economic advisor" does when trying to make such a stupid argument in the face of reality. He presented bunches and bunches of data, most out of context, or presented without supporting information. One such argument was last quarter's growth, where Luskin explains, real GDP was up 3.3%. Yet he somehow fails to mention that this corresponded with the Congressional stimulus checks, a one time shot to the system, and that the first quarter of 2008 growth was 0.9%, and the last quarter of 2007 it was -0.2%.
The reality of we are seeing in the media is all a lie, according to Luskin all sorts of things are really very good. Luskin is obviously following the Phil Gramm view of the economy, you will remember Phil, top economic advisor for John McCain who famously told the Washington Times in July, America is a "nation of whiners" facing a "mental recession." This from the man who is most responsible for the collapse of Enron, and the financial crisis we are in today.
Luskin argues that that we're not on the brink of a recession, but really on the verge of accelerating prosperity. So why doesn't the American people recognize this? Luskin comes up with a novel answer, he blames Senator Obama. No really he says that Senator Obama is "Patient zero in this epidemic".
I was completely flabbergasted by Luskin's op-ed until I got to the end where he stated "Full disclosure: I'm an adviser to John McCain's campaign". Then I understood why John McCain has no clue about the economy, and Luskin sounded like a Phil Gramm acolyte.
America cannot afford a John McCain Presidency because men like Phil Gramm and Donald Luskin would be given power to affect the US economy. Looking at the headlines of today, I am sure we can't afford that.