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Tue Mar 21, 2006

Jude Wanniski

You know who was an interesting man? Jude Wanniski, Reagan's source for his supply side tax cuts. I say was because I just found out that he had died last year. Every once and a while, my anti-war google searching winds up on some brilliant quote on his website www.wanniski.com. I'm always delighted to find interesting conservatives who run against the dreck that is modern day reactionary cultural elitist neo-conservatism - and that's why I'm also sad to read about his passing.

Anyway, I was just adding John Perkin's book (which I've just started reading) Confessions of an Economic Hit Man to the left side bar here, and searching around for comments to quote on this great book, I ran across Jude Wanniski's comments on the book from January 2005. I'll get to his quote, but before I go there it's interesting that Wanniski is known as the 'Father of the supply side economics' and hence basically the Reagan Revolution, and an advisor to economic conservatives Kemp, Forbes, etc.. Mr. Wanniski's book The Way the World Works is one of the National Reviews' 100 most infulential books of the 20th Century. I may not have the knowledge to know exactly how to talk about him, but his small-government-conservative/economic cred is immense... no?

Back to John Perkin's book - 'Confessions..', and Jude's thoughts on the premise of it. Read his blog on wanniski.com and you'll find lots of big fat red flags on Bush's economics, and the folly of this war, and the corruption of the IMF and WTO:

What’s this all about? The book was published last fall, but only now shows up as a best-seller? It only recently was brought to my attention by a website fan who knows I’ve long argued that the International Monetary Fund and its sister organization, the World Bank, constitute an “Evil Empire.” The two “international financial institutions” (IFI’s) were founded in 1945 during the genesis of the United Nations as “do-good” enterprises. The IMF would assist countries trying to keep their currencies tied to the dollar under the terms of the 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement. The World Bank would lend money at low interest rates gathered from the rich countries to help poor countries get off their backs.

Over the years, the process has been corrupted, with both the IMF and World Bank becoming controlled by the multinational corporations and their banks. When President Nixon went off the gold standard in 1971, the IMF’s reason for existence evaporated, because Bretton Woods and the fixed dollar went up in smoke. Now the problem for the big banks like Chase Manhattan, Citicorp and the Bank of America became two-fold:

1)As surplus dollars accumulated in their reserves and there were no credit-worthy Americans wanting to borrow, the banks had to think of ways to lend the money abroad or it would sit in their vaults earning zip, which means it really is losing money as the paper dollar – freed from its gold anchor – was inflating and losing purchasing power. Citigroup’s Walter Wriston (who died last week), came up with the idea that the surplus should be loaned to poor countries, even though they had no collateral, because governments had to pay off their hard-currency loans or lose their international credit ratings.

2)If the countries that borrowed from Chase or Citicorp could not pay back interest or principle and did not worry about stiffing the private bankers, they would have to swallow the non-performing loans. The solution was to have the IMF, looking for something to justify its existence, step in to collect the debt. All it had to do was persuade the U.S. Congress to ante up billion or two of taxpayer dollars to fill their coffers (and “replenish” them from time to time). They could then go to the deadbeat country and say, “We will give you this money so you can pay Chase and Citicorp what you owe them, but you will have to raise taxes on your own people and devalue your currency as the conditions for the loan!

What we have in this book from Mr. Perkins is an account of a foot soldier in these operations of the Evil Empire. I’ll get his book and check it out, but from what I can gather about it on the internet he is well within the ballpark of what has been going on. Are bankers evil by nature? Of course not. But as bankers they follow the money, not giving a second thought to the conditions in which they leave their debtors. The first priority of any institution is self-preservation, and for the big banks, that means getting paid back on their loans. Is this any way to run the world? No. It is a dreadful way to operate, and it would end if our government returned to a dollar/gold system and abided by it. If not, I’m afraid nothing Mr. Perkins writes or that I write will change a thing. The folks who control the money control our government and that’s that. It is interesting that Perkins does identify the Bechtel Corporation and Halliburton as agents in this quiet conspiracy to make sure the good old USA flourishes, even though it means the relentless impoverishment of the poorest countries of the world.
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Moral Citizen: evil-barry on Mar 21, 06 | 4:27 pm | Profile

Category: George W. Bush
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