Paul Craig Roberts

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Paul Craig Roberts
Paul craig roberts.jpg
United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy
In office
1981–1982
President Ronald Reagan
Personal details
Born (1939-04-03) April 3, 1939 (age 75)
Atlanta, Georgia
Nationality American
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology
(B.A., Economics)
University of Virginia
(Ph.D., Economics)
Occupation Economist

Paul Craig Roberts (born April 3, 1939) is an American economist and a columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration and was noted as a co-founder of Reaganomics.[1] He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He has testified before congressional committees on 30 occasions on issues of economic policy.

He has written extensively on the effects of the neo-liberal economic policies pursued since the 1990s and about jobs-offshoring which he has strongly criticised. He has argued that these policies, favouring the financial services "industry" at the expense of other sectors of the economy, has eroded America's industrial capacity, its workers' skills and has sharply decreased upward social mobility. He has stated that these policies which condemned American workers to low-paying unskilled jobs, as the only jobs available, caused them to increase their net personal debt to maintain living standards, significantly contributed to the 2008 Global Financial Crisis. These positions are covered in greater detail in his book The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism and the Economic Erosion of the West (2012).

During the 21st century, Roberts has frequently published in Counterpunch, writing extensively about the effects of the Bush (and later Obama) administrations related to the War on Terror, which he says have destroyed the US Constitution's protections of Americans' civil liberties, such as habeas corpus and due process. He has taken positions different from former Republican allies, opposing the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, and criticizing Israel's policies and actions against the Palestinians.[2]

Biography[edit]

Roberts is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley and at Merton College, Oxford University.[3] His first scholarly article (Classica et Mediaevalia) was a reformulation of "The Pirenne Thesis."

In Alienation and the Soviet Economy (1971), Roberts posited that the Soviet economy as the outcome of a struggle between inordinate aspirations and a refractory reality. He argued that the Soviet economy was not centrally planned, but that its institutions, such as material supply, reflected the original Marxist aspirations to establish a non-market mode of production. In Marx's Theory of Exchange (1973), Roberts argued that Marx was an organizational theorist whose materialist conception of history ruled out good will as an effective force for change.

From 1975 to 1978, Roberts served on the congressional staff. As economic counsel to Congressman Jack Kemp,[4] he drafted the Kemp-Roth bill (which became the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981). He played a leading role in developing bipartisan support for a supply-side economic policy.[3] Due to his influential 1978 article on tax burden for Harper's,[5] while economic counsel to Senator Orrin Hatch,[6] the Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley offered him an editorial slot. He wrote for the WSJ until 1980.[7] He was a senior fellow in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.[4]

From early 1981 to January 1982, Roberts served as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy. President Ronald Reagan and Treasury Secretary Donald Regan credited him with a major role in the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981, and he was awarded the Treasury Department's Meritorious Service Award for "outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy."[3]

Roberts resigned in January 1982 to become the first occupant of the William E. Simon Chair for Economic Policy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.[8] He held this position until 1993. He went on to write The Supply-Side Revolution (1984), in which he explained the reformulation of macroeconomic theory and policy which he had helped to develop.

From 1993 to 1996, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute. He also was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.[3]

In The New Color Line (1995), Roberts argued that the Civil Rights Act was subverted by the bureaucrats who applied it. He thought it was being used to create status-based privileges and threatened the equality of the Fourteenth Amendment in whose name it was passed. In The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Roberts documented what he saw as the erosion of the Blackstonian legal principles that ensure that law is a shield of the innocent and not a weapon in the hands of government.

Honors and recognition[edit]

In 1987 the French government recognized him as "the artisan of a renewal in economic science and policy after half a century of state interventionism"; it inducted him into the Legion of Honor on March 20, 1987. The French Minister of Economics and Finance, Edouard Balladur, came to the US from France to present the medal to Roberts. President Reagan sent OMB Director Jim Miller to the ceremony with a letter of congratulation.[3]

In 1992 Roberts received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism from the free-market American Legislative Exchange Council. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.[3]

Views[edit]

Criticism of Bush[edit]

Roberts opposed the Iraq War and wrote frequently on the subject. On May 18, 2005, in response to the publication of the "Downing Street memo," Roberts wrote an article calling for Bush's impeachment for allegedly misleading Congress about the case for war.

Roberts also criticized a potential Bush administration attack on Iran. In an August 15, 2005 article, he stated "Bush...dismisses all facts and assurances and is willing to attack Iran based on nothing but Israel's paranoia."[citation needed]

Although his criticisms of Bush often seemed to align him with the political left, Roberts continues to explain Ronald Reagan's two goals—to end stagflation and the cold war. Roberts has written that "true conservatives" were the "first victims" of the neocons of the Bush administration.[9] He has said that supporters of George W. Bush "are brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler's enthusiastic supporters."[10]

Israel[edit]

Roberts has criticized actions by the Israeli government in the 21st century. He cautions against confusing opinions about a right-wing Zionist government with support of world Jewry. In one of his columns, "What Became of Western Morality?" (January 2005), he noted that it is Israeli newspapers, not American ones, that protest Israeli government "atrocities" against Palestinians:

"It is the goyim moralists who are silent, not the Jews. It is the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, not the goyim media, that provides reports of Israel’s abuse of Palestinians. Gideon Levy’s “The Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again” was published in Haaretz on Dec. 29. Levy’s words—”Once again, Israel’s violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom”—are not words that can appear in American print or TV media. Such words, printed in Israeli newspapers, never reach the goyim."

In a 2009 article for Counterpunch magazine, titled "Pirates of the Mediterranean", Roberts wrote that for 60 years, Israel has replicated "the 17th, 18th, and 19th century theft of American Indian lands by US settlers." Roberts repeated accusations that Gaza is "the world largest concentration camp," populated by people who were "driven out of Palestine so that Israel could steal their land." He called the U.S. State Department a "puppet" of the Israelis and the U.S. a puppet state" of the Israelis. He concluded that "there’s no money for California, or for Americans’ health care, or for the several million Americans who have lost their homes and are homeless, because Israel needs it."[11] This was another position that separated him from the right, who have generally supported Israel.

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization, has criticized Roberts as promoting anti-semitism for his increasing focus on "criticism of Israel and Jews," making his writings "popular with fringe publications on both the left and the right".[12] Roberts nominated Israeli peace activist Jeff Halper for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Roberts cautions against blaming all Jews for the actions of a right-wing government:

"The world will need to remember that although Israel is a Jewish state, it is a state whose policies many Jews find objectionable, just as a majority of American Jews oppose President Bush’s wars of aggression in the Middle East and his unconstitutional policies at home. We must not confuse Israel’s Zionist government with world Jewry, just as we must not confuse the American people with the war criminals in the Bush regime."[13]

South Ossetia War[edit]

In an interview on August 27, 2008, on a broadcast of The Alex Jones Show, Roberts stated that he believed that influential neoconservatives affiliated with the George W. Bush administration were leading the United States into a nuclear confrontation with Russia over the situation in Georgia and South Ossetia. Roberts gave the conflict “almost total certainty if John McCain gets in office" and stated that the conflict would be in a timeframe of about two or three years.[14]

2009–2010 Iranian election protests[edit]

In a June 19–21, 2009 article in CounterPunch about the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests following the re-election of Ahmadinejad, Robert stated that while "the protests ... no doubt have many sincere participants", they "also have the hallmarks of the CIA orchestrated protests in Georgia and Ukraine".[15]

September 11, 2001 attacks[edit]

Of the 9/11 Commission Report, he wrote in 2006, "One would think that if the report could stand analysis, there would not be a taboo against calling attention to the inadequacy of its explanations."[citation needed] (see Criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report). He has reported findings[by whom?] who conclude there is a large energy deficit in the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings. He says that this deficit remains unexplained.

Roberts comments on the "scientific impossibility" of the official explanation for the events on 9/11. On August 18, 2006, he wrote:

I will begin by stating what we know to be a solid incontrovertible scientific fact. We know that it is strictly impossible for any building, much less steel columned buildings, to "pancake" at free fall speed. Therefore, it is a non-controversial fact that the official explanation of the collapse of the WTC buildings is false... Since the damning incontrovertible fact has not been investigated, speculation and "conspiracy theories" have filled the void.[16]

In November 2012 Roberts referred to al Qaeda's role in the attack as "unsubstantiated".[17]

Anwar al-Awlaki[edit]

Anwar al-Awlaki was an American cleric who became linked to the 9/11 hijackers from evidence obtained by German law enforcement during a search of an apartment owned by Ramzi bin al-Shibh, widely regarded as a key facilitator of the 9/11 attacks. In addition, al-Awlaki was alleged to have participated in the planning, recruitment, and financing of a number of al-Qaeda operations against western targets from 2004–2011. After being imprisoned in Yemen, he espoused a radical Islamist position and appeared to have been involved with the attempted Christmas Day bombing in 2008. In October 2011, he was killed by a United States surgical strike, likely involving UAV aircraft. Roberts objected, calling the operation "The Day America Died". He wrote that although Awlaki was critical of "indiscriminate assaults on Muslim peoples" and "told Muslims that they did not have to passively accept American aggression", the US lacked evidence that Awlaki was either a real threat or an Al Qaeda operative.[18]

US media[edit]

  • "Anyone who depends on print, TV, or right-wing talk radio media is totally misinformed. The Bush administration has achieved a 'de facto' Ministry of Propaganda."[19]
  • "The uniformity of the US media has become much more complete since the days of the cold war. During the 1990s, the US government permitted an unconscionable concentration of print and broadcast media that terminated the independence of the media. Today the US media is owned by 5 giant companies in which pro-Zionist Jews have disproportionate influence. More importantly, the values of the conglomerates reside in the broadcast licenses, which are granted by the government, and the corporations are run by corporate executives—not by journalists—whose eyes are on advertising revenues and the avoidance of controversy that might produce boycotts or upset advertisers and subscribers."[20]

Society[edit]

...I had a 16-year stint as Business Week's first outside columnist, despite hostility within the magazine and from the editor's New York social set, because the editor regarded me as the most trenchant critic of the George H. W. Bush administration in the business. The White House felt the same way and lobbied to have me removed from the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies... In their hatred of 'the rich,' the left-wing overlooks that in the 20th century the rich were the class most persecuted by government. The class genocide of the 20th century is the greatest genocide in history.[19]

His reference is to what he considered "class genocide" in the widespread massacres and deaths in the Soviet Union and Maoist China of people for being members of the wrong class.

Outsourcing jobs[edit]

Roberts testified before the US–China Commission and has written many articles saying that the offshoring of high productivity, high value-added jobs in manufacturing and professional services is dismantling the ladders of upward mobility that made the U.S. an opportunity society. He has opposed Global labor arbitrage. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez-Faire Capitalism and the Economic Erosion of the West (2012), has been translated into German and Chinese. He critiques and reformulates large areas[which?] of economic theory.[citation needed]

War on drugs[edit]

Roberts worked for the Reagan administration, which implemented a "zero tolerance" policy on illegal drugs, "Just Say No" slogan, and increased spending to combat drugs. In 2007, he published an article on the web site VDare.com criticizing the excess of the War on Drugs, which he said had resulted in the "militarization of local police".[21]

War on Terror[edit]

Roberts asked "Is the War on Terror a Hoax?", and argued that it has "killed, maimed, dislocated, and made widows and orphans of millions of Muslims in six countries". Roberts called the attacks "naked aggression" on civilian populations and infrastructure which "constitute war crimes".[21]

Republican Party[edit]

Roberts is strongly opposed to what he considers the Republican Party's disregard for the United States Constitution. He has voiced his regret that he ever worked for it, avowing that, had he known what it would become, he would never have contributed to the Reagan Revolution.[22] He has vehemently criticized the Democrats as well, stating that Obama has doubled down on the Bush Administrations destruction of the Constitution.[citation needed]

American democracy and oligarchy[edit]

Roberts has been increasingly critical of what he deems as the lessening of democracy in the U.S. and other western countries. In a 2011 interview, he said oligarchs are running these nations:

The west prides itself that it is the standard for the world, that it is a democracy. But nowhere do you see democratic outcomes: not in Greece, not in Ireland, not in the UK, not here, the outcomes are always to punish the innocent and reward the guilty. And that's what the Greeks are in the streets, protesting. We see this all over the west. There is no democracy, there are oligarchies, some of these smaller European countries are not even run by their own governments, they are run by Wall Street... There is probably more democracy in China than there is in the west. Revolution is the only answer... We are confronted with a curious situation. Throughout the west we think we have democracy, we hold ourselves up high, we demonize China, we talk about the mafia state of Russia, we talk about the Arabs and so on, but where is the democracy here?[23]

Cessation and resumption of journalism[edit]

On March 26, 2010, Roberts announced he was "signing off" as a journalist in a column titled "Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It".[24] But, after reportedly receiving thousands of emails demanding that he continue to write, two months later he resumed writing for publication.[citation needed]

In January 2012, his website, www.paulcraigroberts.org, was put on the Internet. It includes an archive of a decade of his 21st-century columns.

Financial crisis and the Federal Reserve[edit]

Roberts has argued that the 2012 Libor scandal completes the picture of public and private financial institutions manipulating interest rates in order to prop up the prices of bonds and other fixed income instruments, and that “the motives of the Fed, Bank of England, US and UK banks are aligned, their policies mutually reinforcing and beneficial. The Libor fixing is another indication of this collusion.” [25] Roberts recommends stricter bank regulation, and a profound reform of the Federal Reserve System.[citation needed]

Published works[edit]

He has written or co-written twelve books, contributed chapters to numerous books, and published many articles in scholarly journals. His writings have also appeared in a variety of print and online publications worldwide.

Books[edit]

  • Alienation and the Soviet Economy (1971, 1990) ISBN 0-8419-1247-5
  • Marx's Theory of Exchange, Alienation, and Crisis (1973, 1983) ISBN 0-03-069791-3 (Spanish language edition: 1974)
  • The Supply Side Revolution: An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington (1984) ISBN 0-674-85620-1 (Chinese language edition: 2012)
  • Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy (1990) ISBN 0-932790-80-1
  • The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America (1997) ISBN 0-19-511176-1 (Spanish language edition: 1999)
  • The New Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy (1995) ISBN 0-89526-423-4
  • The Tyranny of Good Intentions: How Prosecutors and Bureaucrats Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice (2000) ISBN 0-7615-2553-X (new edition: 2008)
  • How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds (2010) ISBN 978-1-84935-007-5
  • Wirtschaft Am Abgrund (2012) ISBN 978-3-938706-38-1
  • Chile: Dos Visiones, La era Allende-Pinochet (2000) ISBN 956-284-134-0
  • The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West (2012) ISBN 0986036250
  • How America was Lost. From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State (2014) ISBN 9780986036293

References[edit]

  1. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (June 10, 2004). "The Real Reagan Record", National Review, 31 August 1992, Retrieved on February 27, 2010
  2. ^ Robert, Paul Craig. "America's Shame". 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Biography – Paul Craig Roberts
  4. ^ a b The Bulletin, 30 January 1981, "Roberts nominated"
  5. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "Disguising the tax burden: Little-known facts beneath the rhetoric of reform", Harper's, March 1978
  6. ^ Bruce Bartlett, Human Events, 28 January 2002, "'Rich' Pay More Than What's Fair.", 58(4), p. 14
  7. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, Washington Times, 17 December 2003, "Two who made a difference"
  8. ^ Toledo Blade, 19 January 1982, "Treasury Dept. Economist Quits Post: Advocate of Tax-Cut Plan Going To Georgetown U
  9. ^ Paul Craig Roberts: "Who Will Save America?", CounterPunch
  10. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "The Reality Beneath the Flag-Waving", NewsMax
  11. ^ "Pirates of the Mediterranean", Counterpunch
  12. ^ Syndicated Columnist Paul Craig Roberts Promotes Anti-Semitism
  13. ^ 09-01- 2009 article
  14. ^ Infowars
  15. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization", CounterPunch
  16. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (2006-08-16). "What we know and don’t know about 9/11". Information Clearing House. Retrieved 2007-12-06. 
  17. ^ "The Osama bin Laden Myth", Paul Craig Roberts website
  18. ^ "the day america died". lewrockwell (London). October 3, 2011. 
  19. ^ a b Paul Craig Roberts: Who Will Save America?
  20. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "What We Know And Don’t Know About 9/11", VDARE.com, 16 August 2006
  21. ^ a b Paul Craig Roberts, "Drug War Has Militarized Your Local Police", VDare
  22. ^ "The mother of all messes", CounterPunch, 23 July 2008
  23. ^ Co-Founder Of Reaganomics Paul Craig Roberts, "There Is Probably More Democracy In China Than There Is In The West," SeroHedge, Video Interview, May 2011
  24. ^ "Good-Bye: Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It," counterpunch.org March 24, 2010 [1]
  25. ^ Paul Craig Roberts and Nomi Prins (14 July 2012). "The Real Libor Scandal". Paul Craig Roberts. Retrieved 28 August 2013. 

External links[edit]