Conservative Split

This bizarre conversation between libertarian financier (now turned radio talk-show host after his failed run for elected office) Peter Schiff and the utterly vile Dick Morris (who Lawrence O’Donnell wickedly described as being, “A desperate guy who’s public record with prostitutes makes him unemployable anywhere else”) is perhaps indicative of some of the deep fissures that can be expected to materialize between various factions of the right-wing in America as 2012 election fever ramps up.

I wonder if anyone on Fox News will take their sleazebag contributor to task over his truly remarkable contention (before he abruptly hung up on Schiff) that “every high school student should be drug tested” in order to more effectively wage the hapless “War on Drugs” in America. This, from someone who pretends to advocate “small government” and incessantly rails against its obnoxious intrusion into people’s lives (at least, under the allegedly “socialist” Obama administration).

It’s truly an inexplicable contradiction, but sadly one that’s not at all uncommon amongst faux “conservatives” of the right-wing, as evidenced by the irrational proclivity of these cynical miscreants to zealously advance restrictive legislation concerning gay marriage, abortion, and any number of other social matters that impinge on the rights of others.

I’ve got no problem with conservative libertarians like Schiff, the folks at the CATO Institute, and the Ron Pauls of the world (even though I may vehemently disagree with them in many respects) because at least they’re somewhat consistent in their ideological convictions. By contrast, unprincipled mercenary hacks like Morris are little more than bottom-feeding scum that shamelessly pander to the lowest common denominators and most idiotic elements of the American polity.

Senator Peter Schiff

I suspect Schiff’s run at Chris Dodd’s seat might be nothing more than a vainglorious, self-promotional stunt — would he really be prepared to divest himself of his various investment interests and turn over his capital market consultancy to a blind trust for the next six years? — but whatever the case may be, it will certainly make the next Senate race in Connecticut very interesting.

From his fundraising letter issued to supporters this morning:

So today it begins. As I’m sure you are aware, the rules in politics bear only scant resemblance to those which govern polite society. As a result, I am wading into strange waters, and I’m sure strange things will happen. But I promise to maintain my composure and give it my best shot. Based on the support that I have received thus far, I fully expect to be facing down Chris Dodd in the general election just 14 months from now.

As my campaign takes flight, I appreciate the patience and trust that you have shown. To commit time and money to a long shot candidate for high office is a hard choice. I hope to repay that trust with a first class campaign.

Whether his self-proclaimed inexperience will prove to be his “biggest asset” in the forthcoming campaign remains to be seen, but I’d venture to guess that persistently forecasting imminent economic collapse most probably won’t be a winning strategy with voters of the Nutmeg state.

Pessimism Porn?

ABC’s Dan Harris is fixated on “a little something called pessimism porn.” According to Harris it’s “a term coined by the good folks over at New York Magazine and it refers to the fact that there are a lot of people who’ve become addicted to reading apocalyptic news about the economy online.”

On the other side of the equation, we’ve got folks like Enterra Solutions’ Thomas Barnett who isn’t buying into all the apocalyptic economic reports:

I made a decision a long time ago not to make my career a bet on bad things happening. I think that approach simply corrodes your strategic thought capacity. Human history is progress, so if you’re constantly having to screen out the good to spot the bad, your vision will be unduly narrow. If you bet on progress, you can easily contextualize the bad, because progress is never linear. But if you bet on retreat, you must consistently discount advances as “illusions” and “buying time” and so on, and after a while, you’re just this broken clock who’s dead-on twice a day.

Barnell maintains that “pessimism porn” dulls the “strategic brain” and that, like actual porn, it “narrows the intake capacity. After a while, you’re simply blind from all that self-pleasuring.” (I’m presuming he means “blind” in the figurative sense there…)

A Date with Dr. Doom

Tonight’s installment of the series of interviews with Peter Schiff appearing on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos — this one features Canada’s prospects in a “post-meltdown” scenario.

Peter Schiff’s Reaction

The expected negative reaction to last night’s from investor Peter Schiff… As usual, it’s a very concise and cogent takedown on the fundamental premises underlying the plans Obama roughly outlined in his address to Congress. Schiff of course is betting on the outcome of the artificial stimulus to the economy being hyperinflation and an eventual collapse of the dollar.

Note: The picture quality is terrible on this one — it’s hoped that before too long, he’ll invest in an inexpensive digital camera for his lap top.

Peter Schiff v. Financial “Experts”

Sabina Becker asks “Who is Peter Schiff, and why is he pwning all these people?” We’ll get to that in a moment, but first, enjoy this compilation of him trouncing a number of self-appointed financial “experts” and savour how astoundingly wrong their prognostications have turned out to be in contrast to his relentless pessimism.

Now, to answer the opening question with a little bit more than the opinion that he “knows his onions” Wikipedia has a good write-up on Schiff from which we learn that:

Schiff also references the role of the US consumer in the world, saying that the US consumer thinks he’s doing the world a favor by consuming what the rest of the world produces. He is quick to point-out that this relationship will come to an end, in his view, much sooner than people imagine, and with negative consequences for the US. Schiff has been quoted as saying: “Consumption is its own reward for Production” — meaning that without production, the US cannot indefinitely sustain its ongoing consumption. Schiff, and other adherents of Austrian economics, promote savings and production as “the engine of economic growth — not consumption.”

Schiff has said on numerous occasions that the current economic crisis is not the problem; it is the solution. According to him the transition from borrowing and spending to saving and producing cannot be accomplished without a severe recession, given the current imbalances of the US economy. But according to him that transition needs to happen. He also thinks the government is doing no one a favor by trying to “ease the pain” with stimulus packages, bailouts and such. Schiff believes these actions will only make the situation worse and possibly result in hyperinflation if the government continues to “replace legitimate savings with a printing press.”

Doubtless the foregoing will be music to the ears of some of my libertarian friends who think that my “simplistic” Keynesian prescriptions are barking mad.