Author Archives: Les Schreiber

Dave Brat Part Deux

In three days, the seventh district in Virginia will elect one of the most disturbing candidates in recent history.  The self-styled economist Dave Brat  has an elect web site that paints a portrait of an individual only loosely linked to reality.

As most Republicans, Dave is a big supporter of the 2nd Amendment’s right to bear arms.  His rationale is that this right derives from God.  Really! Does Dave speak to God?  A religiously connected group in the 21st century that links firearms to God is ISIS.  It is unbelievable that a far-right GOP member and a terror group would find a fundamental belief in common.

Brat is a big supporter of the Keystone Pipeline to energy independence.  This is a straw man.  The pipeline transports oil produced by Canadian tar sands to be exported to China.  This means of manufacture will make the most pollution of any known method, leading to a significant rise in pollution.  I guess Dave forgot to read the chapter on negative externalities in his Economics 101 text.

Dave wants energy independence.  I guess in the past few weeks he has been too busy talking to God to look at the Chicago Board of Trade market in crude oil. At a time of 3 1/2% growth in GDP,  political unrest in two large oil-producing regions, Russia and the Middle East, the price of crude has dropped by nearly 20% in the past several months.  America’s energy Renaissance in here.  In the face of all that so-called “excessive regulation,” that Brat always screams about,  the United States will be almost energy-independent in the next several years.  If Brat would do a little fundamental analysis, he would support this progress by lifting the ban on energy exports, and supporting a tariff on crude imports from a nation like Saudi Arabia to make sure that American production remains competitive.  The proceeds for this tariff could be used to reduce the deficit and the national debt, build infrastructure, and increase the Earned Income Tax Credit.

There are few issues that the Chamber of Commerce and Paul Krugman  do agree on, but immigration reform has broad support across the political spectrum.  As an economist, Dave should know that one of the reasons often given for the stagnation of the Japanese economy is an aging population and a government policy that forbids all immigration.

Like the Japanese, Dave is against immigration.  His position resembles some of the lowest points in American history that brought forth the Chinese Exclusion Act in the 19th century, subjected Irish immigrants to intense discrimination, and formed the “American Firsters” movement in the 1930’s and 1940’s, who pressed the U.S. Government not to admit the Jews on the S.S. Saint Louis.

Les Schreiber

This Brat is the Worst

In one week the voters of the 7th district will send a self-styled “economist” named David Brat to the House of Representatives.  I am amused that Mr. Brat advertised himself as an economist but advocates policies that have already been tried and have proven to be at best ineffective and at worst disastrous.

When running in the primary, Mr. Brat advocated auditing the Federal Reserve.  Perhaps this self-styled economics wizard has missed the years of debate concerning the Federal Reserve’s policy of buying Treasury and mortgage-backed securities.  The numbers are available for all to see who have any interest, on the Fed’s website.  Perhaps Dave’s real problem is that he believes that the black helicopters that the United Nations will use to institute “world government” are secretly hidden in the basement of the New York Federal Reserve on Liberty Street in downtown NYC.

Of course Brat wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but offers no reasonable alternative.   Dave wants to allow sales of health insurance across state lines, but this would only encourage a race by insurance companies to the bottom of the insurance barrel.  I wonder how all of those folks from Hartford Connecticut and Manhattan will adjust to life in Mississippi?

Dave wants to have a self-styled balance-budget amendment.  This guy really live in a Disneyland bubble.  For instance, a recent article in the Journal of Post-Keynesian Economics strongly makes the case that more deficit spending in the wake of the 2008-2009 financial crisis would have led to a much stronger recovery. Brat’s policy of supporting a balanced-budget amendment strongly echoes the restraints placed on European governments by the Treaties of Maastricht and Amsterdam that are currently supported by the Germans.  This extreme-type of infallible austerity has led to levels of unemployment in the Euro zone that are often at 10% for the general population and youth unemployment that approaches 50% inGreece, Portugal and Spain.  It is unbelievable to me that a serious student of economics would loo0k at this unsustainable crisis and advocate the policies that brought it on.

– Les Schreiber