Monday, March 09, 2009

AEI/Bloomberg/McCain Hack Plays A Little Solitaire

Rush Limbaugh as Frank Sinatra/Major Bennett Marco?

No, I don't think so ...

Not in a million years, and all the CGI you can generate.

Kevin Hassett, on Bloomberg today, has a column calling President Obama "The Manchurian Candidate", because, after all, Obama has launched a War on Business and is out to totally destroy our economy.

I was immediately alarmed, until I got to the bottom of the post, and noted that was merely a one of the Right Wing Freak Show Flying Monkeys;

(Kevin Hassett, director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute, is a Bloomberg News columnist. He was an adviser to Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona in the 2008 presidential election. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Here's some of his drivel;
It is no wonder that markets are imploding around us. Obama is giving us the War on Business. 

Imagine that some hypothetical enemy state spent years preparing a “Manchurian Candidate” to destroy the U.S. economy once elected. What policies might that leader pursue? 

He might discourage private capital from entering the financial sector by instructing his Treasury secretary to repeatedly promise a brilliant rescue plan, but never actually have one. Private firms, spooked by the thought of what government might do, would shy away from transactions altogether. If the secretary were smooth and played rope-a-dope long enough, the whole financial sector would be gone before voters could demand action. 

Another diabolical idea would be to significantly increase taxes on whatever firms are still standing. That would require subterfuge, since increasing tax rates would be too obvious. Our Manchurian Candidate would have plenty of sophisticated ideas on changing the rules to get more revenue without increasing rates, such as auctioning off “permits.” 

These steps would create near-term distress. If our Manchurian Candidate leader really wanted to knock the country down for good, he would have to provide insurance against any long-run recovery.


It’s clear that President Obama wants the best for our country. That makes it all the more puzzling that he would legislate like a Manchurian Candidate.

Nate Silver, over on this, has the lowdown on Hacket, who penned the book, "Dow 36,000";
To review, Dow 36,000 came out in October, 1999, within months of the tippy-top peak of the tech bubble ... this is when stocks were as overvalued as at literally any time in American history, including the Roaring 20's -- and Hassett was telling you to double -- nay, triple-down on them! It would be hard to identify an individual who better embodied the phrase "irrational exuberance" -- well, maybe the sock puppet -- or who destroyed more wealth with charlatanic financial advice.

And this guy thinks it's all some big conspiracy against him. Literally.

Wikipedia notes, regarding Hassett's book, "Dow 36,000";

The Industrial Average reached a record high of 11,750.28 in January 2000, but after the bursting of the dot-com bubble, and the September 11 attacks of 2001, it steadily fell, reaching a low of 7,286.27 in October 2002. Although the Average recovered to a new record high of 14,164.53 in October 2007, it crashed back to the vicinity of 6,800 by the early months of 2009, amidst a global recession.
Also, Paul Krugman's assessment of McCain's campaign;


In the course of the 2008 election campaign, Nobel-prize laureaute Paul Krugman criticised Hassett's position as an adviser to John McCain and implied that "Dow 36,000" was discredited
"We’ve known for a long time, of course, that Mr. McCain doesn’t know much about economics — he’s said so himself, although he’s also denied having said it. That wouldn’t matter too much if he had good taste in advisers — but he doesn’t. Remember, his chief mentor on economics is Phil Gramm, the arch-deregulator, who took special care in his Senate days to prevent oversight of financial derivatives — the very instruments that sank Lehman and A.I.G., and brought the credit markets to the edge of collapse... And last year, when the McCain campaign announced that the candidate had assembled “an impressive collection of economists, professors, and prominent conservative policy leaders” to advise him on economic policy, who was prominently featured? Kevin Hassett, the co-author of “Dow 36,000.” Enough said.[4]"

John Cole, over on Balloon Juice points out the irony of Hassett's use of "The Manchurian Candidate", in his "They Know the Title of the Book, But They Haven’t Read It".

Another irony is that, it is actually the hero/protagonist of 'The Manchurian Candidate' who defeats the Right Wing conservatives, and enemies, preserving and saving capitalism (yeah, that's a big hint, but I don't want to spoil it completely, for those that haven't seen the movie - the original, 1962 pic, with Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Angela Lansbury)

Maybe, in his next column, Hassett will declare "There are exactly 57 card-carrying members of the Communist Party in the Obama Administration at this time!"

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