In the last installment I covered some of the higher level economic advisers to the Obama camp. This time around, we'll take a closer look at those people close to Governor Romney assisting in his economic policy. Again, I will offer overall comments as to what shape his platform is in at the end but will give basic opinion regarding each of his top guides as I present them.
Mitt Romney's Camp
Governor Romney has accumulated a very, let's say colorful, group of advisers that together paint a very telling picture of what sort of change an elected Romney brings to the nation.
Vincent Weber - Is a former congressional representative that retired after being implicated in the House Banking Scandal of 1992. As you can see, this is getting off to a great start already. After retiring, Weber went on to help Newt Gingrich, and others, engineer the 'Republican Revolution' during the Clinton Administration, helping that party come back to power in the Senate and House of Representatives. During this time, Vin Weber frequented National Public Radio, commenting on the movement in the republican party and healthcare issues. What he failed to mention during this stint was that he was on the payroll of several health insurance companies as a lobbyist.
Mr. Weber was a campaigner for Bush/Cheney '04, serves on the board of the Council of Foreign Relations, is the president of the Association of Mature American Citizens, and is involved in a bunch of private as well as non-profit organizations. Googling Vin Weber will net you a plethora of information but a few points worth mentioning is that he is, at the core, a lobbyist. He is a managing partner of Clark & Weinstock, a very active lobbying firm in DC. Weber is anything but an economist and it is difficult to determine his position regarding any real issue other than being a mouthpiece for whatever industry he happens to be representing. What credentials he has as an economist, I don't know.
Keynesian Folly Rating: 0 out of 10
Help or Hurt Rating: Corporate Goon
R. Glenn Hubbard - Of all the advisers Romney has employed, Glenn Hubbard has the background to serve in that capacity. You might know him from the documentary, "Inside Job" where he was interviewed and got rather testy when asked about his role as chief economic adviser to W. Bush, advocacy of financial sector deregulation and any firms that he received outside income from. Again, not off to a good start. Needless to say, Mr. Hubbard is a pro-bank economist and a board member of BlackRock Financial, the largest asset manager on the planet. That's not too far from saying that if Goldman Sachs is the devil, BlackRock is the devil's daddy.
He was also given a cursory look to take over the job of Chairman of the Federal Reserve but lost out to the enigmatic Alan Greenspan. Glenn Hubbard is a banker's banker. This man is a supply-side economist and a key player in the development and deployment of the Bush tax cuts. If those don't sit well with you, take note.
Keynesian Folly Rating: 9 out of 10
Help or Hurt Rating: BOHICA
Kevin Hassett - I'm going to break form for a moment here and just rant. Kevin Hassett is an idiot. He's the author of the cornucopian book, "DOW 36,000", a fairy tale novel about endless growth and limitless profits waiting for the remotely experienced day trader. He's noted on opensecrets.org as a revolving door lobbyist, a policy adviser under Clinton and Bush (how's that work?) and in my opinion, the worst sort of economist. He's a believer that under our present economic system, with the right inputs, economic growth is endless. Unfortunately, he has the ear of possibly the next president and he's probably only qualified to suggest policy to lemonade stand owners, and that only marginally.
Honestly, I don't see how this guy even has a job at McDonalds with a 81% miss like calling the DJIA at 36000. He co-authored that book in 1999, before the dot.com bust. I'm sure he felt good on the way up during the housing boom but must have wanted to burn every copy of that book after 2007.
Keynesian Folly Rating: 9 out of 10
Help or Hurt Rating: Dangerous Liability
N. Gregory Mankiw - I can't break this any other way, Nicholas Gregory Mankiw is another moron. He's one of the geniuses that devised New Keynesian Economics, which was coined in order to deal with some of the major structural issues present in that economic model. I won't go into detail here regarding that point (but would be glad to continue a discussion in the comments) but suffice to say, Mr. Mankiw is a big believer in big government (Keynesian), central bank monetary policy (Keynesian) and big government injections of cash when the economy takes a spill (Keynesian). He served as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under W. Bush, is a Harvard graduate and is a proponent for Pigovian taxes (check that out, it's like communism, looks good on paper but I highly doubt it will work in practice).
This is another architect of the collapse we saw under W. Bush. I'm quick to point out that it took decades to set that stage, but I'll also go on record to say Bush lit the fuse after that bomb was built. Greg Mankiw was helping to stuff the dynamite into the bomb case while Bush was walking down with the lighter.
Keynesian Folly Rating: 10 out of 10
Help or Hurt Rating: BOHICA
Conclusion on the Right: Mitt Romney has succeeded in surrounding himself with every single bad person you could possible find, other than hunting down Hank Paulson, stealing Tim Geithner from Obama and seeing if Dick Cheney wanted to take another stab at VP. I can't imagine a more potent and lethal cocktail of idiots and all around rotten to the core financial sector suits to staff the next White House. I can't stress this enough, and if you've followed anything that I said going into the 2008 election you know that I am no fan of Obama; don't vote for Romney. If you're going to vote for anyone, please don't vote for the Republican this time around. Obama has some real worrisome folks in his camp, true but Romney has seeded his garden with the plants of economic destruction.
In good conscience I can't say either side is any good for this country. Clearly, this time around Obama is the true lesser of two evils, but it is still the wrong choice. Romney is 100% wrong for this country, or any for that matter. This I cannot say enough.
DON'T VOTE FOR ROMNEY.