Friday, April 1, 2011

I have no idea if Tim Pawlenty is really this foolish!

"I have respect for Michelle Bachmann."
Ryan Avent @ The Economist catches former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty - one of those GOP candidates deemed "serious" by pundits - issuing a pronouncement based on "thoroughly discredited fringe beliefs."  What Avent dubs his "strange ideas" indicates TeePaw apparently doesn't have any more of a clue about economic policy than that other noisesome GOP 2012 hopeful & Tea Party icon Michelle Bachmann, whose whacky screeds suggest she's the insistent voice of Loony Toons Town in our public discourse.

The Economist's Avent:
TIM PAWLENTY, former Minnesota governor and potential Republican presidential candidate, has thoughts on money:
The former Minnesota governor said the administration has devalued the dollar by injecting "fiat money" into the economy. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) predicted Tuesday that the U.S. will face a double-dip recession that could last all the way until the 2012 elections. The likely presidential candidate said the government, under President Obama, has devalued the dollar by injecting "fiat money" into the economy in an attempt to boost it — a plan he said will be damaging in the long-run.

This is unfortunate. Let's review the reasons why:
"Fiat money" is another way of saying "money". Fiat money—that is, dollars—is what people use to obtain goods and services in America. I'm assuming this is Mr Pawlenty's way of suggesting that everything would be better if America were on the gold standard. 
Everything would be terrible on the gold standard. Once upon a time, conservatives understood this. Conservative patron saint and economics Nobelist Milton Friedman argued that tight monetary policy—a product, in part, of the need to defend gold convertibility—was responsible for the depth of the Great Depression. 
If Mr Pawlenty is talking about monetary policy here, and it seems as though he is, he's got his organisational charts all wrong. The administration does not control monetary policy; the Federal Reserve does. Barack Obama did reappoint (Republican appointee) Ben Bernanke, but once Mr Bernanke was confirmed the administration had little say over the Fed's policy decisions. 
Mr Pawlenty seems to think a falling dollar will lead to a recession. I...don't know why. I suspect that if asked, Mr Pawlenty would heartily agree that America should export more and import less. A falling dollar is one of the ways unbalanced economies engineer a reduction in the current account gap.

What more can you say? Increasingly, it seems as though the default Republican position on monetary policy is a set of thoroughly discredited fringe beliefs that would prove economically disastrous if adopted. That's a problem!
UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong - whose excellent blog was the source of this Ryan Avent link - adds: "As one person who has had the chance to observe Tim Pawlenty up close in the past says: 'It really is amazing what he does not know.'"

It's further worth noting in the annals of Pawlenty's incoherence and/or opportunism that this guy, who is currently bending to the Tea Party baseline of the GOP in service of 2012 primary traction, has as governor supported reliance on that socialist hell-hole Canada for  importation of prescription drugs - because...uh...they're cheaper up there due to the power of the state inflicting it's price-control  tyranny on the poor multi-national pharmaceutical corporations.  "Anti-government, free-marketeer" Pawlenty also pushed legislation that had state and local government forking over many millions of public bucks to finance new facilities for privately-held sports franchises -  a form of blatant "socialism-for-corporations" that seems to appeal even to Tea Party types as indelibly American. (Which, of course, it is!)

Pawlenty - an apparently affable guy who the "thinking men" of contemporary conservatism like David Brooks take very, very seriously - has placed himself in that unfortunate and nearly inevitable position of ambitious GOP pols:  Leaving the rest of us wondering if he's really that stupid or just so dishonest  that he'll say anything to fire up the fervently know-nothing base.

No comments:

Post a Comment