Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Peter Schiff vs. Arthur Laffer

OK, I'm a sad person. I admit it. But I do occasionally like to have a laugh. And the following two videos are perhaps the funniest I have seen in a long time.

In the first one, dated August 2006, Peter Schiff correctly predicts the current recession and what will cause it. Arthur Laffer, an appropriately named man, laughs out loud at Schiff's thoughts and then challenges Schiff to a bet, after stating that the American economy is in the best shape it has ever been, that there will not be a recession in 2007 or 2008, and that he wants Schiff to grovel at his feet in supplication when Schiff is proved wrong. Schiff, of course, accepts the bet, saying he would like it to be a lot more than one penny:

In the second video, dated October 2008, an incredibly nasty and stupid little man gracelessly tries to pretend he is not the same Arthur Laffer as in the video above. Bill Maher gently quizzes him on the bet with Peter Schiff. An ugly toad-like impression settles upon Laffer's screwed up face, as this evil little grunt of a man, who was so quick to pour loud public scorn upon Peter Schiff, quickly tries to shut down the conversation by talking about a nine month statute of limitations on economic predictions (which doesn't appear to have stopped Schiff making multi-year predictions, of course, or being right). As well as being the funniest economic thing I have seen in years, this second video is also toe-wincingly embarrassing after watching the first one, so be careful before you click play:

AngloAustrian conclusion: Nobody should ever listen to another word Arthur Laffer ever says about anything ever again, except perhaps "I was wrong, I admit it, I am an arrogant fool. Peter Schiff was right. Everybody should stop hiring me and start hiring him instead." They should also take all of his Laffer curves, designed to maximise government income, and shred the lot of them, returning the proceeds to the taxpayers of this world. The title of Laffer's new book, "The End of Prosperity", is also rather appropriate. Let's hope it comes true for him in his personal fortunes, when offering economic advice to anyone. Presumably the book took at least a couple of months to think about, then a couple of months to write. It probably also took a couple of months to publish, and then a couple of months to set up the publicity tour. Therefore, given Laffer's nine month statute of limitations, it only has a shelf life of 1 month before it's completely out of date. So don't buy it while you can.

No doubt, however, it will also be Laffer to whom governments are right now turning, to quiz him on what to do next, rather than Schiff, despite Laffer having proven himself to be an incompetent mistaken idiot and despite Schiff having proven himself, in the face of incredible scorn, to be an incredible bang-on hero.

Funny that.

It reminds me of the S.E.P. concept in the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It is generally impossible for normal human beings to see Someone Else's Problem. It would also appear that due to an A.E. concept, it is impossible for government people to see Austrian Economists, despite their having predicted everything correctly, despite their possession of the only full working model of the business cycle, despite their having solutions ready to run out of the box, and despite their having supporters, such as myself, much better looking than other people. (OK, I lied about that last bit.)

Do you think this inability to see Austrian Economists has anything to do with the hard Rothbardian stipulations that governments should drastically cut back spending, taxes, and central bank powers, if we are to get through this recession in any kind of shape? Hmmm.... I wonder.

Also, can I make a request to any AngloAustrian readers? If the dreadful rat man Arthur Laffer ever does pay Schiff his penny, which I rather doubt after watching the second incredibly graceless video, can you please send me the link to the YouTube video? Immediately! :-)

Though it might be fun if Laffer doesn't pay Schiff, because like a bad MacBethian character Laffer will have to spend the rest of his life trying to avoid his nemesis.


Pip pip!!

(Praise must be due to Stephen Carson, at LewRockwell.Com, for unearthing these videos)


Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
not an economist said...

Thanks for this. I had seen the first video before but not the second.

A few things.

1) Has Laffer had a facelift in the two years since that first video? He looks a hell of a lot younger.

2) I agree with your criticisms of Laffer but in his favour he did have the courage to go on a program that was very hostile toward him. Others would probably have done a runner. Maybe its the britishness in me - i.e., love of the underdog - but I do admire that.

That said, he fails to defend his earlier positions and tries to curry favour by referring to himself as a Kennedy supporter. TOSSER.

Also, I have little time for the other people on that programme. The host cites Schiff which is a good. But then the host goes on to support the very idea of big govt calling for taxes to shoot up to cover the deficit. That's evidently not a Schiff position. As for Robbins' snide comment at the end - contemptuous at best.

Essentially they seemed to be democrats. I really don't think America would be any better placed now if Gore or Kerry had been elected president when they ran. Okay maybe no war in Iraq or Afghanistan (although Clinton had his fare share of little wars when he was in power) but they would have had a whole host of alternative projects for the state to waste money on over the last 8 years. Plus if they had been true to their word if in office, they would have done far more on climate change, shackling the economy with environmental regulations left right and centre. The policies of the FED would have been little different (Greenspan had been FED chairman since the 80's I think) and the distortions in the economy caused by the Community Reinvestment act and its enhancements under Clinton and even Bush would have continued apace. Indeed with a Democrat President they may have been even more excessive. So there would still have been the subprime crisis and the mailinvestment that arose under Bush. I somehow think the paneliists on that programme wouldn't get any of this. But then Laffer doesn't either - as suggested by his earlier deabte with Schiff.

What I would like to see is a calm rational debate between Schiff and Laffer in the light of what has happened more recently. Throw in Paul Krugman aswell so we get the Keynesian viewpoint, this to give Shciff a chance to expose it for the bollocks it is.

Jack Maturin said...

Krugman vs. Schiff would indeed be a many spendoured thing. Though I think Krugman is perhaps just smart enough, despite thinking health care is free if the government pays for it, to avoid going anywhere near Schiff.

I wonder if we could invent a new word, sounding a bit like 'shafted', to cover this event, should it ever happen?

I think Krugman would get 'Schiffted' if he dared go up against our Austrian hero.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.