Wednesday, March 12, 2014

David Stockman's Contra Corner

          David Stockman's Contra Corner website went "live" today. Contra Club, in which I am flattered to be a member, includes several contributors. This link to David's opening salvo is aimed at Bernanke redux: Yellenomics: The Folly of Free Money. You will see members of the Contra Club with links to their contributions on the right side of the page.

            David published The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America in 2013. This is an important book. "The Blackberry Panic of 2008" alone shows how unnecessary were the ad hoc nationalizations and bailouts of that year. He recasts the past century's monetary history, having read what was written at the time and after digging through the economic numbers from then 'til now.

He was Budget Director under President Reagan. After stepping down and joining Salomon Brothers, he wrote The Triumph of Politics. This, too, was an important book. It was also a dispiriting book. Here was the situation: Reagan was elected in 1980 with the backing of the electorate to bring government under control. For those who are too young, the late 1970s were a dispiriting time in the United States. When Reagan was elected, Americans were prepared to be run through the ringer. The excesses and mistakes needed to go. The new cabinet members were chosen under this premise. The new budget director, David Stockman, worked with secretaries of Defense, of State, and onward. Within weeks of Reagan's inauguration, every one of them (I think, I read the book a long time ago) was an Empire Builder. You know how it's gone from there.