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
President Ronald Reagan
Personal details
Born (1939-04-03) April 3, 1939 (age 76)
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 blogger.[1] He served for one year as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy in the Reagan administration. He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service.

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 U.S. 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]


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

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 Magazine,[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.[9][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 (ALEC). In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.[3]


Conspiracy theory regarding Charlie Hebdo Attack[edit]

In a column for the Ron Paul Institute, Roberts said that the U.S. government executed the Paris terror attack to punish France for its independent foreign policy. He cited its vote to recognize Palestine as a state at the United Nations and French President Hollande’s call to ease sanctions on Russia.[10]

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 that “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.[11] He has said that supporters of George W. Bush “are brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler’s enthusiastic supporters.”[12]


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".[13]

Gideon Levy’s “The Neighborhood Bully Strikes Again” was published in Haaretz on December 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.”[14] This was another position that separated him from the right, who have generally supported Israel.[citation needed]

The Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish organization, has criticized Roberts as promoting antisemitism for his increasing focus on “criticism of Israel and Jews,” making his writings “popular with fringe publications on both the left and the right.”[15]

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.”[16]

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.[17]

2009–2010 Iranian election protests[edit]

In a June 19–21, 2009, article in CounterPunch about the 2009–10 Iranian election protests following the re-election of Ahmadinejad, Roberts 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.”[18]

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.”[19] (see Criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report). He has reported findings[by whom?] which concluded there was 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.[19]

In November 2012 Roberts referred to al Qaeda’s role in the attack as “unsubstantiated.”[20]

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 to 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 U.S. lacked evidence that Awlaki was either a real threat or an Al Qaeda operative.[21]

Class genocide[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.[22]

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.

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 that “constitute war crimes.”[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]

His website,, includes an archive of his 21st-century columns.

Published works[edit]

He has written or co-written 12 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.


  • 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


  1. ^
  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, The 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. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Paul Craig Roberts: "Who Will Save America?", CounterPunch
  12. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "The Reality Beneath the Flag-Waving", NewsMax
  13. ^ "Whatever Happened to Western Morality?", Counterpunch
  14. ^ "Pirates of the Mediterranean", Counterpunch
  15. ^ Syndicated Columnist Paul Craig Roberts Promotes Anti-Semitism
  16. ^ 09-01- 2009 article
  17. ^ Infowars
  18. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "Is This the Culmination of Two Years of Destabilization", CounterPunch
  19. ^ a b Roberts, Paul Craig (2006-06-02). "Who Will Save America?". Information Clearing House. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  20. ^ "The Osama bin Laden Myth", Paul Craig Roberts website
  21. ^ "the day america died". lewrockwell (London). October 3, 2011. 
  22. ^ Paul Craig Roberts: Who Will Save America?
  23. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "Drug War Has Militarized Your Local Police", VDare
  24. ^ "Good-Bye: Truth Has Fallen and Taken Liberty With It," March 24, 2010 [1]

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External links[edit]