Paul Craig Roberts

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Paul Craig Roberts
United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy
President Ronald Reagan
Personal details
Born (1939-04-03) April 3, 1939 (age 78)
Atlanta, Georgia, US
Nationality American
Political party Independent (formerly Republican)[1][2]
Alma mater Georgia Institute of Technology
(BA Economics)
University of Virginia
(PhD Economics) University of Oxford
(Fellow in Economics)
Occupation Economist, Journalist

Paul Craig Roberts (born April 3, 1939) is an American economist, conspiracy theorist, journalist, blogger and former civil servant.[3] He is best known as a journalist specializing in economic affairs from an anti-establishment, liberal conservative perspective.[4]

He reached the height of his government career when he became the United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan in 1981.[5] In office he and his staff successfully combated the stagflation (price-inflation and stagnation) then plaguing the American economy. Tighter monetary policy was used to restrain inflation; in addition lower marginal tax rates were used to increase the rewards to work and investment.[6] In recognition, he was awarded the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy”.[7]

Roberts was a critic of the Bush (and later Obama) administrations' handling of the War on Terror: harshly criticizing the ineffectiveness, severity and high rates of incarceration associated with the War on Drugs; excessive police violence and use of SWAT teams against civilians; and Congressional approval of increased government surveillance associated with the War on Terror age, which he views as fundamental threats to the liberties enshrined in the US constitution.[citation needed]

A vocal critic of the Federal Reserve and the financialization of the economy, his articles have addressed and criticized outsourcing, economic deregulation, privatisation of social services, quantitative easing, Wall Street finance fraud and lax enforcement of environmental protection laws.[citation needed]

A supporter of the Palestinians in the West Bank, he has criticized Israel’s policies and actions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as well as speaking out against what he calls the Israel Lobby's malign influence within US politics and academia.[citation needed]

Early life and career[edit]

Dr. Roberts is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology (BS Industrial Engineering) and holds a PhD from the University of Virginia. He was a postgraduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and at Merton College, Oxford University.[8] 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,[9] 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.[8] Due to his influential 1978 article on tax burden for Harper's Magazine,[10] while economic counsel to Senator Orrin Hatch,[11] the Wall Street Journal editor Robert L. Bartley offered him an editorial slot. He wrote for the WSJ until 1980.[12] He was a senior Fellow in political economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, then part of Georgetown University.[9]

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.”[8]

After his time in government he turned to journalism, holding positions of editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal, columnist for Business Week, the Scripps Howard News Service as well as contributing editor to Harper's Magazine.

During this period he also had a career in academia. In addition to numerous guest and visiting-professorships at US universities, he was professor of business administration and professor of economics at George Mason University and was the inaugural William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at Georgetown University, serving for 12 years.

From 1993 to 1996, he was a Distinguished Fellow at the Cato Institute. He also was a Senior Research Fellow at the Hoover Institution.[8][13]


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]

He was awarded the US Treasury’s Meritorious Service Award for “outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy”.[7]

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.[8]

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.[8]

In 2015, the Mexican Press Club honored Dr. Roberts with its International Award For Excellence In Journalism in recognition of his lifelong commitment to truth and unbiased-reporting in exposing the inner workings of the global economic power-structure.[14]


Criticism of Bush[edit]

Although his criticisms of George W. 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.[15] He has criticized the Bush tax cuts, believing they "were nothing but a greedy grab" and were "not necessary policy adjustments but rewards to the mega-rich who underwrite political careers and provide grants to economic departments and think tanks", however, also stating that "they are not a significant cause of today's inequality."[16][17] He has said that supporters of George W. Bush “are brownshirts with the same low intelligence and morals as Hitler’s enthusiastic supporters.”[18]


Roberts is a vocal critic of neoliberalism and the financialization of the economy,[19][20][21][22] having condemned jobs offshoring, deregulation and privatization in the U.S.[23][24][25][26] However, he has spoken in defense of his time working in Ronald Reagan's administration with supply side economics.[27][16] Roberts has also soundly criticized Keynesian economics to a lesser degree than laissez-faire market economics.[17][28]

Roberts has regularly questioned the veracity of official economic data.[29][30][31][32][33] He is also critical of the world economic order. He has written that "capitalism has reached the point in its descent that it cannot exist without public subsidies for the people dispossessed by capitalism."[34] He details his critique in his book The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West.[35]

Roberts has been critical of the actions of the Federal Reserve System- from former Chairmen Alan Greenspan's and Ben Bernanke's terms to current Chairwoman Janet Yellen via quantitative easing policies and low interest rates, the latter of which he has argued (due to his view that official government data is biased) is actually negative interest rates.[36][37][22][38]

Roberts has been a vocal opponent of taxing Social Security pension payments, holding that this amounts to a "tax on a tax". He also opposes the gradual privatization of Social Security, believing this would create an opportunity for speculators to play with and lose the savings of retirees.[39]

Anti-establishment views[edit]

Roberts has argued that the U.S. has transitioned into an oligarchic police state, in which special interests and lobbyists for corporations, big banks, the Israel lobby and the military-industrial complex have significant power over politicians, and therefore- the US government's actions. Roberts has particularly condemned former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.[citation needed]

Roberts has also been critical of the mainstream media, believing that media bias is prevalent in favor of US political establishment views and agendas.[citation needed]


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".[40]

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 and the U.S itself a “puppet” the Israel. 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.”[41]

The Anti-Defamation League has criticized Roberts as allegedly promotion anti-semitism for his supposed "criticism of Israel and Jews," making his writings "popular with fringe publications on both the left and the right." [42] Roberts has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as an "anti-semite" and conspiracy theorist.[43] He has been described as a conspiracy theorist by USA Today and Reason as well.[44][45]

The War on Terror and Neoconservatism[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.”[46][not in citation given]

Roberts contends that, just like Operation Gladio, the War on Terror has been perpetrated by the military-industrial complex and the 'insane' neoconservatives under an agenda of 'US world hegemony'.[47][48][49][50]

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. This evidence was obtained 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 2009. 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.” Roberts claimed that the U.S. lacked evidence that Awlaki was either a real threat or an Al Qaeda operative.[51]

Promotion of conspiracy theories[edit]

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.”[52] (See Criticisms of the 9/11 Commission Report.) He has asserted there is a large "energy deficit" in the official account of the collapse of the three WTC buildings, and this deficit remains unexplained.[53]

In November 2012 Roberts referred to al Qaeda’s role in the attack as “unsubstantiated.”[54]

Roberts has also stated:[55]

"Anyone who believes the official 9/11 story, like anyone who believes Oswald killed JFK, like anyone who still believes that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and Al-Qaeda connections, that Assad used chemical weapons, who believes the Gulf of Tonkin lie, who believes that Sirhan Sirhan killed RFK, that Russia invaded Ukraine, etc., is too far gone to ever be rescued from The Matrix in which they live."

2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School attack[edit]

In March, 2016, Roberts published an article claiming that many pictures associated with the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting were "doctored." He further claimed that he was unable to determine if the shootings had actually taken place or not.[56]

2013 Boston Marathon bombings[edit]

Following the Boston Marathon bombing, Roberts stated that the law enforcement response to the bombing, which locked down a portion of a city, was a prelude to the imposition of martial law.[57]

In 2015 and 2016, Roberts revisited the topic, claiming Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was given a show trial.[58][59]

Roberts repeated the conspiracy theory in a column published four years after the bombing.[60]

2015 Charlie Hebdo attack[edit]

In a column for the Ron Paul Institute, Roberts said that the U.S. government executed the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris to punish France for its independent foreign policy. In particular, Roberts cited France's vote to recognize Palestine as a state at the United Nations and French President Hollande’s call to ease sanctions on Russia.[44][61][61]

2016 Orlando attack[edit]

Roberts has questioned the official account of the 2016 Orlando nightclub shooting, stating that "the visual evidence does not match the verbal reports".[62]

He has said that the lack of body bags, security footage, and general primary sources, should warrant suspicion in regards to the authenticity of the official account for the attack.[63]

He suggested that this attack might be a false flag operation, conducted for increased public approval for–and eventually, the implementation of–gun control.[64][65]

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, including King World News.[34] In 2011, Roberts was named one of the top ten most influential people in the alternative media.[66]


  • 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

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (March 18, 2015). "Republicans Are The Party Of Death — Guest Column by Pat Buchanan". 
  2. ^ "Paul Craig Roberts: We have a republican party that is a Gestapo party". December 2, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Blog". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  4. ^ Terry Eastland, ed. Forbes Media Guide Five Hundred, 1994: A Critical Review of the Media (1994) p 304
  5. ^ Reagan, Ronald. "Nomination of Paul Craig Roberts To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury". The American Presidency Project. 
  6. ^ "Supply-Side Revolution: An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington -". 
  7. ^ a b "About - Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  8. ^ a b c d e f [1] Archived September 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b The Bulletin, 30 January 1981, "Roberts nominated"
  10. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "Disguising the tax burden: Little-known facts beneath the rhetoric of reform", Harper's, March 1978
  11. ^ Bruce Bartlett, Human Events, 28 January 2002, "'Rich' Pay More Than What's Fair.", 58(4), p. 14
  12. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, Washington Times, 17 December 2003, "Two who made a difference"
  13. ^ Stratton, Lawrence M. (2001-08-01). "Paul Craig Roberts | Hoover Institution". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  14. ^ ""Truth in Media is the Enemy of Washington, Truth is Our Country" Acceptance Speech, International Award For Excellence In Journalism, Mexican Press Club". Global Research News. 
  15. ^ Paul Craig Roberts: "Who Will Save America?", CounterPunch
  16. ^ a b "What Is Supply-Side Economics? -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  17. ^ a b "Is Paul Krugman a Voodoo Economist? -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  18. ^ Paul Craig Roberts, "The Reality Beneath the Flag-Waving", NewsMax
  19. ^ "Western Peoples Are Being Re-Enserfed -". 
  20. ^ "Whatever Became of Economists and the American economy--Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  21. ^ "The Financial System Is A Larger Threat Than Terrorism -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  22. ^ a b "Free Financial Markets Are A Hoax -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  23. ^ "The Public Is Being Looted By Privatization And Deregulation -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  24. ^ "Expanded Version: The Us Economy Has Not Recovered and Will Not Recover -". 
  25. ^ "How Deregulation Resurrected American Economic Insecurity -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  26. ^ "US On Road To Third World -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  27. ^ "Memoir & Defense - My Time with Supply-Side Economics -". 
  28. ^ "Michael Polanyi's Economics -". 
  29. ^ "Paul Craig Roberts: More Misleading Official Employment Statistics". 
  30. ^ "The Latest Economic Data From John Williams -". 
  31. ^ "Yet Another Fabricated Jobs Report -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  32. ^ "Are The Payroll Jobs Reports Merely Propaganda Statements? -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  33. ^ "Jobs Report Blues -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  34. ^ a b "Paul Craig Roberts – Is Vladimir Putin The Most Powerful Man On Earth?". King World News. June 12, 2017. 
  35. ^ "The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West". Institute for Political Economy. Retrieved June 15, 2017. 
  36. ^ "The Federal Reserve Has No Integrity -". 
  37. ^ "Collapse At Hand -". 
  38. ^ "Financial Market Manipulation Is The New Trend: Can It Continue? -". 
  39. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig. "Consider the taxation of Social Security benefits". Retrieved 10 March 2016. 
  40. ^ "Whatever Happened to Western Morality?", Counterpunch
  41. ^ [2] Archived July 4, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  42. ^ [3] Archived December 25, 2010, at the Wayback Machine.
  43. ^ "Anti-Semitic Conspiracies Continue In Aftermath Of Paris Attacks » ADL Blogs". 2015-01-15. Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  44. ^ a b Matt Welch (2015-01-15). "Ron Paul Institute Publishes a Charlie Hebdo ‘False Flag’ Piece - Hit & Run". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  45. ^ Darrell Delamaide (2015-08-25). "Delamaide: Fed role murky amid market chaos". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  46. ^ [4] Archived August 25, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.
  47. ^ "Why WWIII Is On The Horizon -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  48. ^ "The Neoconservatives Are Brewing A Wider War In Syria -- Paul Craig Roberts -". 
  49. ^ Sputnik. "The Real Likelihood of a Nuclear War". 
  50. ^ "Washington Plans to Nuke Russia and China". 
  51. ^ "The Day America Died". lewrockwell. London. October 3, 2011. 
  52. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (2006-06-02). "Who Will Save America?". Information Clearing House. Retrieved 2015-08-08. 
  53. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig. "9/11 and the Evidence". Information Clearing House. Retrieved 3 May 2016. 
  54. ^ "The Osama bin Laden Myth". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  55. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (2017). "Putin’s Assessment of Trump at the G-20 Will Determine Our Future". Information Clearing House. 
  56. ^ "Sandy Hook Puzzles -". 
  57. ^ "Boston Marathon Bombing". 
  58. ^ "Boston Marathon Show Trial". 
  59. ^ "Update on the Boston Marathon Bomb Case". 
  60. ^ "The Boston Marathon Bombing After Four Years". 
  61. ^ a b Luke Brinker (2015-01-16). "Ron Paul defends insane Charlie Hebdo conspiracy theory: I’m just trying "to get the truth out"!". Retrieved 2015-12-30. 
  62. ^ "Orlando Shooting -". 
  63. ^ "Orlando Shooting: Still No Evidence -". 
  64. ^ "Orlando Wrap-up -". 
  65. ^ "The Changing Orlando Story -". 
  66. ^ "10 Most Influential People in the Alternative Media (2011)". Activist Post. June 13, 2011. 

External links[edit]