Paul Craig Roberts

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Paul Craig Roberts
United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy
PresidentRonald Reagan
Preceded byCurtis A. Hessler
Succeeded byManuel H. Johnson
Personal details
Born (1939-04-03) April 3, 1939 (age 80)
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
EducationPh.D., Economics
University of Virginia
B.S., Industrial Management
Georgia Institute of Technology
OccupationEconomist, Author
AwardsLegion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Legion of Honour

Paul Craig Roberts (born April 3, 1939) is an American economist and author. He formerly held a sub-cabinet office in the United States federal government as well as teaching positions at several U.S. universities. He is a promoter of supply-side economics and an opponent of current U.S. foreign policy.

Roberts received a doctorate from the University of Virginia where he studied under G. Warren Nutter. He subsequently taught at Stanford University and the University of New Mexico before going to work as an analyst and adviser at the United States Congress where he was credited as the primary author of the original draft of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981. He was the United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Ronald Reagan and – after leaving government – held the William E. Simon chair in economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies for ten years and served on several corporate boards. A former associate editor at The Wall Street Journal, his articles have also appeared in The New York Times and Harper's, and he is the author of more than a dozen books and a number of peer-reviewed papers.

In 1987 Roberts was invested into the Legion of Honour at the rank of chevalier (knight) by President of France François Mitterrand. He is also recipient of the United States' Treasury Meritorious Service Award and the International Journalism Award for Political Analysis from the Mexican Press Club.

Early life and education[edit]

Paul Craig Roberts III was born in Atlanta, Georgia on April 3, 1939,[1] to Paul Craig Roberts and Ellen Roberts (née Dryman).[2]

Roberts received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial management from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he was initiated into the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.[1][3] After university, in 1961, he was awarded a Lisle Fellowship to undertake a tour of the Soviet Union.[1][3] According to a later profile of Roberts in The New York Times, his experience watching a queue for meat in Tashkent led to him becoming "born again" as an adherent of supply side economics.[1]

Upon his return to the United States, Roberts enrolled in graduate courses at the University of California Berkeley and Stanford University, before earning a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia where he studied as a Thomas Jefferson Scholar.[1][3] His dissertation, prepared under the supervision of G. Warren Nutter, was titled An Administrative Analysis of Oskar Lange's Theory of Socialist Planning and evolved what Roberts described as "seminal but neglected" ideas set-out by Michael Polanyi in his 1951 text The Logic of Liberty.[4][5]

On completion of his doctoral studies, Roberts spent a year on a research fellowship at the University of Oxford, where he was a member of Merton College.[1][6]


Early career[edit]

Roberts began his career with teaching assignments at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the University of New Mexico, Stanford University, and Tulane University.[1] While a visiting professor at Georgetown University, he was hired as economics counsel to United States Congressman Jack Kemp, later also serving as economics counsel to United States Senator Orrin Hatch, as staff associate with the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, and as chief economist with the minority staff of the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Budget.[1][6] He has been credited as the primary author of the original draft of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.[7]

During this time he also contributed columns to Harper's and The New York Times and served as associate editor of The Wall Street Journal's opinion page.[1][6][8]

Later career[edit]

In December 1980, along with Alan Greenspan and Herbert Stein, Roberts was one of the three speakers at the two-day National Forum on Jobs, Money and People at the Innisbrook Resort and Golf Club in Palm Harbor, Florida.[9] Two months later, in 1981, he was appointed by President of the United States Ronald Reagan as Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy.[6] As Assistant Treasury Secretary he was a driver behind the economic policy of the first term of the Reagan administration and was lauded as the "economic conscience of Ronald Reagan".[10] Nonetheless, his singular zealousness for supply-side economics provoked ire in some quarters within the government, with Larry Kudlow – then an official in the Office of Management and Budget – saying that "Craig saw himself as the keeper of the Reagan flame. Only Craig knew what was right. No one else knew what was right".[1] Roberts' concern about U.S. budget deficits led him into conflict with other Reagan-era officials such as Martin Feldstein and David Stockman.[1]

Roberts resigned in February 1982 to return to academia.[1][11] He was a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution, from 1983 to 1993 was the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and, from 1993 to 1996, a distinguished fellow at the Cato Institute.[12][13][14][15]

From 1983 to 2019, Roberts served as a board director of nine different Value Line investment funds.[16] Between 1992 and 2006 he sat on the board of directors of A. Schulman and, according to the company, was its longest-serving independent director at the time of his retirement.[17]

Post-retirement writing and media[edit]

In the 2000s Roberts wrote a newspaper column syndicated by Creators Syndicate.[18] Later, he contributed to CounterPunch, becoming one of its most popular writers.[19] He has been a frequent guest on programs broadcast by RT (formerly known as Russia Today).[20]

Personal life[edit]

Roberts' wife, Linda, was born in the United Kingdom and professionally trained in ballet.[1] They met while he was at the University of Oxford.[1]

Honors and recognition[edit]

In 1981 Roberts was decorated with the United States Treasury Meritorious Service Award for "outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy".[14]

In 1987 he was invested into the French Legion of Honour at the rank of chevalier (knight) for his services to economics.[21][10][22]

In 2015 Roberts received the International Journalism Award for Political Analysis from Club de Periodistas de Mexico.[23]

In 2017 Roberts received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who's Who.[24]



Drug policy[edit]

Writing in 1995, Roberts expressed skepticism at the war on drugs, saying that it "perfectly illustrates the maxim 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'."[25] In the The Tyranny of Good Intentions (2000), Roberts and co-author Lawrence Stratton argued that the opposition of some American conservatives to drug-policy reform was an example of "the right's myopia".[26]

Charges and counter-charges of conspiracy theorizing[edit]

Writing in USA Today, Darrell Delamaide has described Roberts as a "conspiracy theorist", a charge echoed by Luke Brinker of Salon, and Michael C. Moynihan of The Daily Beast, who has also described him as partaking in "Putin worship".[27][28]

Roberts has rejected the label and, in turn, described Jonathan Chait and Amy Knight as conspiracy theorists.[29]

Regarding the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Roberts has written that "all evidence pointed to a plot by the Joint Chiefs, CIA, and Secret Service whose right-wing leaders had concluded that President Kennedy was too 'soft on communism'".[30] He has also stated that the Charlie Hebdo shooting has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation" and has described himself as a "9/11 skeptic".[31][32]

Economic policy[edit]

Roberts' commitment to supply-side economics has been a dominant feature of his career.[33] Writing in 1984, Thomas B. Silver said that adherents of supply-side economics had "no more formidable advocate in their ranks" than Roberts.[33] However, Roberts has expressed skepticism at the ability of government to lower taxes and decrease regulation, positing that the personal political ambition of officeholders tends to promote meddling in the economy, a criticism he has directed even at the former Reagan administration of which he was a part.[33]

Ron Hira of the Economic Policy Institute has described Roberts as one of the first prominent economists to "break from the orthodoxy" by opposing offshoring; Roberts believes that the practice is "lethal for America's future".[34] According to him, "a nation that doesn't make anything doesn’t need a financial sector as there is nothing to finance".[35]

Roberts is also a critic of the Federal Reserve System and central banking in general.[36]

Foreign policy[edit]

Roberts has stated his opposition to United States involvement in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present) and to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.[32] According to Roberts, “the Bush regime’s response to 9/11 and the Obama regime’s validation of this response have destroyed accountable, democratic government in the United States".[19]

Society and culture[edit]

According to Roberts, "the West in general suffers from an excess of skepticism about its own values and accomplishments. We're being gobbled up by nihilism, itself the product of unbridled skepticism. It's hard to anchor on to the verities anymore".[1] He has expressed his opposition to Affirmative Action policies and dismissed the existence of white male privilege.[37] In an opinion column for Scripps Howard News Service in 1997, Roberts opposed gender integration aboard U.S. Navy vessels, opining that gender integration would destroy the "ethos of comradeship" which, in his view, motivated wartime sacrifice more than "abstract concepts such as honor and country".[38]

In The New Color Line (1995), Roberts and co-author Lawrence M. Stratton argue that the Civil Rights Act was subverted by the bureaucrats who applied it.[39][40][41]

Views on WW2 and the Holocaust[edit]

Roberts writes in support of the views of David Irving on World War 2 and the Holocaust, writing that "David Irving, without any doubt the best historian of the European part of World War II, learned at his great expense that challenging myths does not go unpunished... I will avoid the story of how this came to be, but, yes, you guessed it, it was the Zionists".[42] Roberts writes that "No German plans, or orders from Hitler, or from Himmler or anyone else have ever been found for an organized holocaust by gas and cremation of Jews... The “death camps” were in fact work camps. Auschwitz, for example, today a Holocaust museum, was the site of Germany’s essential artificial rubber factory. Germany was desperate for a work force."[43]



  • Alienation and the Soviet Economy: Toward a General Theory of Marxian Alienation, Organizational Principles, and the Soviet Economy (University of New Mexico Press, 1971) ISBN 0826302084
  • Marx's Theory of Exchange, Alienation, and Crisis (Hoover Institution Press, 1973; 1983) ISBN 0817933611 (Spanish language edition: 1974)
  • The Supply Side Revolution: An Insider's Account of Policymaking in Washington (Harvard University Press, 1984) ISBN 0-674-85620-1 (Chinese language edition: 2012)
  • Warren Nutter, an Economist for All Time (American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research, 1984) ISBN 0844713694
  • Meltdown: Inside the Soviet Economy (Cato Institute, 1990) ISBN 0-932790-80-1
  • The Capitalist Revolution in Latin America (Oxford University Press, 1997) ISBN 0-19-511176-1 (Spanish language edition: 1999)
  • Alienation and the Soviet Economy: The Collapse of the Socialist Era (Independent Institute, 1999: 2nd edition) ISBN 094599964X
  • The New Color Line: How Quotas and Privilege Destroy Democracy (Regnery Publishing, 1997) 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 (Broadway Books, 2008: new edition)
  • Chile: Dos Visiones La Era Allende-Pinochet (Universidad Andres Bello, 2000). Joint author: Karen LaFollette Araujo. Spanish language.
  • How the Economy Was Lost: The War of the Worlds (AK Press, 2010) ISBN 978-1-84935-007-5
  • Wirtschaft Am Abgrund: Der Zusammenbruch der Volkswirtschaften und das Scheitern der Globalisierung (Weltbuch Verlag GmbH, 2012) ISBN 978-3-938706-38-1. German language.
  • 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 (Clarity Press, 2013) ISBN 0986036250
  • How America was Lost. From 9/11 to the Police/Warfare State (Clarity Press, 2014) ISBN 9780986036293
  • The Neoconservative Threat to World Order: Washington's Perilous War for Hegemony (Clarity Press, 2015) ISBN 0986076996
  • Amerikas Krieg gegen die Welt... und gegen seine eigenen Ideale (Kopp Verlag, 2015) ISBN 386445221X

Journal articles (selected)[edit]

Popular articles (selected)[edit]

Social media[edit]

According to Roberts, a Twitter account once operating under his name was unauthorized and, at his request, the account was suspended by Twitter in 2018. Roberts has stated that he maintains no social media accounts.[44]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Kilborn, Peter (March 6, 1984). "Gadfly Who Bites President on Supply Side". New York Times. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  2. ^ "Miss Dryman Weds Paul C. Roberts". Atlanta Constitution. July 22, 1934. Retrieved January 18, 2019.(subscription required)
  3. ^ a b c "Atlanta Grad to Visit Soviet Union". Atlanta Constitution. June 30, 1961. Retrieved January 18, 2018.(subscription required)
  4. ^ Catalog of Copyright Entries. Third Series: 1968: January–June. Library of Congress. 1971. p. 952.
  5. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (2014). How America Was Lost: From 9/11 to the Police/Welfare State. Atwell Publishing. p. 391. ISBN 978-0988406520.
  6. ^ a b c d "Nomination of Paul Craig Roberts To Be an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury". Ronald Reagan. University of California Santa Barbara. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  7. ^ Reagan, Ronald (1982). Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: Ronald Reagan, 1981. p. 64. ISBN 978-1623769321.
  8. ^ "UD to Feature Economist". Irving Daily News. April 8, 1979. Retrieved January 1, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ex-officials to Talk at Innisbrook". Tampa Bay Times. United Press International. December 2, 1980. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Fading French Socialism". Longview News-Journal. April 14, 1987. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  11. ^ Rowan, Hobart (July 8, 1982). "Even Administration is Looking for Alternatives to Reaganomics". Des Moines Register. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  12. ^ [1] Archived September 13, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ Stratton, Lawrence M. (August 1, 2001). "Paul Craig Roberts". Hoover Institution. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "About Paul Craig Roberts". Creators Syndicate. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  15. ^ "Paul Craig Roberts". CSPAN. Retrieved September 27, 2018.
  16. ^ "Executive Profile: Paul Craig Roberts". Bloomberg. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  17. ^ "FORM 8-K November 7, 2006". A. Schulman. Retrieved January 21, 2019.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b Marmura, Stephen (2014). "Likely and Unlikely Stories: Conspiracy Theories in an Age of Propaganda". International Journal of Communication. 8: 2388.
  20. ^ Holland, Adam (April 1, 2014). "Paul Craig Roberts: Truther as Patriot". The Interpreter. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  21. ^ Rahul D. Manchanda, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts Is A Former Treasury Secretary Who Actually Cares, Modern Diplomacy. Retrieved December 16, 2018.
  22. ^ ""Légion d'honneur". Le Spectacle du Monde (300). November 1987.
  23. ^ Mena, Carolina (March 13, 2015). "Por su cobertura a los casos Ayotzinapa e IPN, el Club de Periodistas premia a La Jornada". La Jornada. Retrieved January 13, 2018.
  24. ^ "PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS (GRAD '67)". University of Virginia. Retrieved January 13, 2019.
  25. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (January 20, 1995). "End the Drug Prohibition". San Francisco Examiner. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  26. ^ Leverenz, Nikos A. (Fall 2001). "The Tyranny of Good Intentions (Review)". The Independent Review. 6 (2).
  27. ^ Brinker, Luke (January 17, 2015). "Ron Paul defends insane Charlie Hebdo conspiracy theory: I'm just trying "to get the truth out"!". Salon. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  28. ^ Moynihan, Michael (October 11, 2014). "From ISIS to Ebola, What Has Made Naomi Wolf So Paranoid?". The Daily Beast. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  29. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig. "The View of Russia in the West — Paul Craig Roberts". Paul Craig Roberts (official website). Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  30. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig. "9/11: Finally the Truth Comes Out?". Paul Craig Roberts (official website).
  31. ^ Welch, Matt (January 15, 2015). "Ron Paul Institute Publishes a Charlie Hebdo 'False Flag' Piece". Reason. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  32. ^ a b Froomkin, Dan (May 25, 2011). "A Reagan Republican Makes A Case Against The War — And His Own Party". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 19, 2019.
  33. ^ a b c Silver, Thomas (Fall 1984). "Counterrevolution". Claremont Review of Books. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  34. ^ Hira, Ron (2005). Outsourcing America: What's Behind Our National Crisis and how We Can Reclaim American Jobs. American Management Association. p. 38. ISBN 978-0814408681.
  35. ^ Cockburn, Alexander (December 8, 2008). "Nail That Double Standard to the Mast!". The Nation. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  36. ^ Darrell Delamaide (August 25, 2015). "Delamaide: Fed role murky amid market chaos". USA Today. Retrieved December 30, 2015.
  37. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (24 March 1995). "Second-class citizens". Atlanta Journal Constitution. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  38. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig (February 13, 1997). "Women in the Ranks Will Destroy the Military". The Missoulian. Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved January 18, 2019.
  39. ^ Rees, Matthew (October 26, 1995). "Rethinking civil rights (book review)". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  40. ^ Jacoby, Tamar (November 19, 1995). "The Politics of Identity (book reveiw)". New York Times. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  41. ^ Naison, Mark (December 3, 1995). "Assessing Affirmative Action (book reveiw)". Washington Post. Retrieved December 19, 2017.
  42. ^ [ The Lies About World War II ] By Paul Craig Roberts | May 15, 2019, Foreign Policy Journal
  43. ^ [ The Lies About World War II ] By Paul Craig Roberts | May 15, 2019, Foreign Policy Journal
  44. ^ Roberts, Paul Craig. ""My" Suspended Twitter Account". Paul Craig Roberts. Retrieved January 18, 2019.

External links[edit]