Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Marginalizing Peter Bernstein
John Maudlin's newsletter gave the stage this week to Peter Bernstein. I suffered through the tedious piece waiting for a whiff of insight when I came upon this doozie of a paragraph:
The root of today's problems in the financial markets and in the economy as a whole is the household sector. The point needs no elaboration, but its significance cannot be minimized. As we have argued on more than one occasion, the shrinkage in the personal savings rate is not the result of consumer profligacy, as other commentators persist in describing it. Rather, the savings rate has been suppressed by a slowdown in the growth of household incomes.
At this point, your Commi-dar should be blaring.
Yeah dunderhead, our neighbors with their BMW, adjustable mortgage, cleaning ladies, who eat or order out every meal aren't saving because those evil businesses aren't paying them more.
They are borrowing because they have to? My butt they are.
How about this Peter, "if you make less money, you should spend less" - no matter what the reason for your earnings shortfall???
Surely they can work sage advice like that into the lofty curriculum at Harvard, no?
According to Wikipedia, Peter Bernstein is a 89 year-old Crimson alum. I don't care what he did or how sharp he was a half century ago. At this point he's a decrepit agitator who doesn't merit an audience. Kind of like that other spotlight-craving egomaniac.
These Morons really do live in an alternate universe where up means down, right is wrong, and cause and effect are conflatable. Bernstein reminds me of those smart guys who were insisting that social problems like hunger, obesity, and expensive healthcare explain why public schools stink. Here is the link for that one. I'll warn you, it is a long, edifying post - albeit mostly on Health Savings Accounts (HSAs).