Sunday, August 26, 2012

Richard Reeves — Stockman Redux

As he became president in 1981, Ronald Reagan called in a 34-year-old congressman from Michigan named David Stockman, considered by many to be the most articulate and intellectually imposing Republican of the moment.

Stockman had impressed the new president by humbling the old man in practice debates before Reagan took on President Carter back in September.

“Dave,” said Reagan, “I’ve been thinking about how to get even with you for that thrashing you gave me in the debate rehearsals. So I’m sending you to the OMB (Office of Management and Budget).” Commented David Brinkley of NBC News: “He’s so fast with big figures that he scares old Washington hands.”

Stockman had only days to come up with a balanced budget that fulfilled Reagan’s campaign promises to cut taxes and build up the military. He was fast, but not necessarily accurate or truthful. Not by a long shot. What he did was use a pre-Reagan-projected budget with a $75 billion deficit the first year. But he already knew the real figure would be more than $600 billion after totaling Reagan’s new programs. On the revenue side, he used asterisks instead numbers. Lots of asterisks.
Stockman retired after four years, wrote a book, a confessional of sorts, went to Wall Street and made a lot of money. He turned down interview requests and kind of faded away.

Until last week, when he wrote an opinion piece for The New York Times. The headline was: “Paul Ryan’s Fairy-Tale Budget Plan.”
Stockman Redux
Richard Reeves

As they say, "it takes one to know one.


Matt Franko said...

Yeah.... it takes a moron to know a moron... sad stuff, 'my austerity is bigger than your austerity'... we're looking at prime examples of disgraced humans here...

"39 Now He told them a parable also: "The blind can not guide the blind. Will not both be falling into a pit?" Luke 6:39

At the end of the day, I'm soooooo thankful we all are not being made blind and stupid on these issues....


David said...

Sounds like they tried to use him as a stooge, like that other famous would-be-stooge, John Dean. Stockman, as I recall, tried to turn the tables on them back then claiming they didn't really follow his advice. Dean re-emerged a few years ago and made some really excellent points about the Bushies, which are sadly all too applicable to O., as well. Dean is the only Republican "intellectual wunderkind" that I was impressed by in "redux."

Paul Ryan, I believe, will be revealed as a phony and an intellectual lightweight; just another foundation coddled hothouse plant of the type we've seen a lot of in the past few years. Which is not to say that he doesn't have brilliant prospects ahead of him, nonetheless.

Edmund said...

Ah, Stockman. Fast and loose with the figures - that's the Michigan State University difference! My Alma Mater.

Matt Franko said...


I think Kirk Cousins (good QB imo!) has a chance to steal the starting job from RG3 here in Washington this year.... rsp.

Edmund said...

Hah. I remember chatting with him while waiting for food in the cafeteria. This is when he was still vying for the QB job with Keith Nichol - I hadn't been paying attention to the team and didn't know who he was. This amused him.

Edmund said...


Stockman says the kind of crap you might expect from a conservative Midwestern farmer's son who doesn't realize hard money would destroy the family farm.

I tend to think he actually believes himself, but I'm not sure with Ryan. Remember the Wikileaks diplomatic cable dump? They might have discussed it here. Re: monetary policy, he was all about fighting deflation, praising Bernanke, ensuring easy liquidity, etc. when chatting with the Argentines.

I'm not sure what's more disturbing: the possibility that Ryan's a fool, or the possibility that Ryan's not a complete fool, but says hugely dangerous things about monetary policy because he thinks it will score him political points.

y said...

Does anyone know what a euro actually is?

Does anyone know whether euro banknotes are national government obligations, european union government obligations, or neither?

I ask because Federal Reserve notes are US government obligations.

I just spent a while on the ECB's website trying to find something - anything that explains what a euro actually is, deep down.

Not much luck.

I invite anyone to try and find such an explanation on the ECB's website.

Tom Hickey said...

y, not my area of expertise but I recall reading on the blogs somewhere that euro are issued by the national govts and the serial numbering of notes shows which one. The national cb's are, of course, bound in this regard by the EU-EZ-EMU treaties wrt the ECB, etc. I have never seen a place where the complexities of this arrangement are set forth simply.

paul meli said...


Reminiscent of the Wizard of Oz.

They make it tough to pull back the curtain. Of course that's the idea.

Matt Franko said...

"Does anyone know what a euro actually is?"


I believe the Europeans used to call it "nomisma".

That is "what it is" imo.

If you need further definition I dont know if that is a good idea or useful... you may be getting caught up by people who do not accept this definition... they simply dont accept the concept of "state currency" ie they call it "funny money" or counterfeit or "debt" or whatever their damaged brains can come up with... if they dont accept the term "nomisma" as a definition then they are "from another planet" so to speak...

Y, consider it may not be possible to explain this to them...