Paul Craig Roberts
Paul Craig Roberts
|United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy|
|Preceded by||Curtis A. Hessler|
|Succeeded by||Manuel H. Johnson|
|Born||April 3, 1939|
Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
University of Virginia
B.S., Industrial Management
Georgia Institute of Technology
|Awards||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 recent U.S. foreign policy.
Roberts received a doctorate from the University of Virginia where he studied under G. Warren Nutter. He worked 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.
Early life and education
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. After university, in 1961, he was awarded a Lisle Fellowship to undertake a tour of the Soviet Union. 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.
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. 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.
Roberts began his career with teaching assignments at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the University of New Mexico, Stanford University, and Tulane University. He was a 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. 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. He has been credited as the primary author of the original draft of the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981.
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. 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. 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". 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". Roberts' concern about U.S. budget deficits led him into conflict with other Reagan-era officials such as Martin Feldstein and David Stockman.
Roberts resigned in February 1982 to return to academia. 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.
From 1983 to 2019, Roberts served as a board director of nine different Value Line investment funds. 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.
Post-retirement writing and media
In the 2000s, Roberts wrote columns for Creators Syndicate. Later, he contributed to CounterPunch, becoming one of its most popular writers. He has been a regular guest on programs broadcast by RT (formerly known as Russia Today). As of 2008, he was part of the editorial collective of the far right website VDARE. He has been funded by the Unz Foundation and he contributes to the Unz Review. His writings are published by Veterans Today, InfoWars, PressTV and GlobalResearch, and he is frequently a guest on the podcasts, radio shows and video channels of the Council of Conservative Citizens, Max Keiser and 9/11 truther Kevin Barrett. His own website publishes the work of Israel Shamir and Diana Johnstone.
Roberts' commitment to supply-side economics has been a dominant feature of his career. Writing in 1984, Thomas B. Silver said that adherents of supply-side economics had "no more formidable advocate in their ranks" than Roberts. 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.
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". According to him, "a country that doesn't make anything doesn’t need a financial sector as there is nothing to finance". In 2004, Paul Blustein in the Washington Post described him as heretical in relation to mainstream US economics for challenging the positive impact of free trade.
Society and culture
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". He has expressed his opposition to Affirmative Action policies and dismissed the existence of white male privilege. 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".
He believes the US is a police state.
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'." In 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".
He is a strong opponent of neoconservatism, saying, "the neocons are the worst thing that ever happened to the United States. (They’re) really the scum of the earth… They should all be picked up and shipped out of the country. They all belong in Israel. That’s where they should be. Pick ’em up, ship ’em to Israel, revoke their passports."
Roberts has stated his opposition to United States involvement in the post-2001 War in Afghanistan and to the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 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". He believes the US is a puppet government of Israel.
He supports Russian president Vladimir Putin, blames Euromaidan and the Syria civil war on a neocon plot, and argues that human rights NGOs working in Russia are part of a “US fifth column” working to undermine its government.
Charges of conspiracy theorizing and antisemitism
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". Roberts has rejected the label and, in turn, described Jonathan Chait and Amy Knight as conspiracy theorists.
Paul Craig Roberts [is] an anti-Semitic syndicated columnist... Since 2007, Roberts’ columns have increasingly focused on criticism of Israel and Jews and often conjure up anti-Semitic canards, making them popular with fringe publications on both the left and the right. Like many other contemporary anti-Semites, Roberts frames his anti-Semitism as criticism of Israel and the country’s supporters. His published views, however, go far beyond any criticism of Israel’s policies, regularly charging Israeli or Jewish control of the U.S. government and media and comparing Israel to the Nazi regime.
In 2003, the Southern Poverty Law Centre wrote that Roberts was a key figure in the mainstreaming of the antisemitic "cultural Marxism" conspiracy theory. In 2016, antisemitism researchers Manfred Gerstenfeld and Leah Hagelberg wrote about him sharing antisemitic conspiracy theory material about Israel creating ISIL.
Roberts has described himself as a "9/11 skeptic" and spoken at 9/11 Truth movement events. 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'". He has also stated that the Charlie Hebdo shooting has many of the characteristics of a false flag operation" motivated in part “to stifle the growing European sympathy for the Palestinians and to realign Europe with Israel”. The Washington Post noted that in 2014 Roberts speculated on his blog that Ebola originated as a US bioweapon and this was picked up by North Korea's state media.
Views on World War II and the Holocaust
In 2019, Roberts wrote in support of the views of Holocaust denier David Irving, asserting that "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". Roberts added 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."
Honors and recognition
In 1981, Roberts was decorated with the United States Treasury Meritorious Service Award for "outstanding contributions to the formulation of United States economic policy".
In 2015, Roberts received the International Journalism Award for Political Analysis from Club de Periodistas de Mexico.
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The roster for WAC’s upcoming Sept. 9-12 9/11 conference in New York City reflects its continuing ability to attract A-list conspiracy theorists, while still bridging right and left. Speakers [include] Paul Craig Roberts, a right-wing columnist who writes for the racist VDARE.com website (named after the first English child born in America).
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