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Nobel Prize Winners for Kerry

Kerry’s Presidential Bid Endorsed by Nobel Economists

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) – A group of 10 Nobel-prize winning economists, including 1970 laureate Paul Samuelson, endorsed Democrat John Kerry for U.S. president, saying President George W. Bush’s policies are ``reckless and extreme.’’

Just to show I’m not one-sided, there was also good news from the Bush campaign:

“Actress Bo Derek, star of “10” and “Tarzan of the Apes,” has endorsed George W. Bush.”

Nice try, but Bushies don’t respect no book lernin’

Those people are referred to as the ‘academics in ivory towers’ and the ‘intellectual elite’.

In Bushies topsy-turvey world, where conservatives want to tamper with the Constitution, where “Conservatives” spend more than any Liberal government in history, where “Conservatives” choose to invade sovereign nations as a first resort, smart people are considered stupid.


Thanks for the post.

Only one man’s endorsement matters: Alan Greenspan’s. He endorsed Bush’s tax cuts.

I know, that was like running over a flea with a bulldozer.

I couldn’t resist.

By the way, turbot, when you leave your mother’s basement, ditch the sandals. On your way to the tree, you might trip over a root and spill your herbal tea.

Have a great day!!!


P.S. The Kerry endorsements at least offers undergraduates insight into those professors’ classes. Other than that, this is just media driven fluff.

[quote]turbot33 wrote:
Kerry’s Presidential Bid Endorsed by Nobel Economists

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) – A group of 10 Nobel-prize winning economists, including 1970 laureate Paul Samuelson, endorsed Democrat John Kerry for U.S. president, saying President George W. Bush’s policies are ``reckless and extreme.’’

Just to show I’m not one-sided, there was also good news from the Bush campaign:

“Actress Bo Derek, star of “10” and “Tarzan of the Apes,” has endorsed George W. Bush.”[/quote]

Amusing. Off the top of my head, I’d guess Arthur Laffer and Milton Friedman would endorse Bush.

As for stupid celebrity endorsements, I think we know which candidate leads in that category…


August 25, 2004, 8:37 a.m.
Oh, Shut Up Already
Sorry ? that means you, too, Wayne.

I can hardly wait. I’m going to camp out the night before to get tickets. It’s going to be the greatest show on earth. Just think! L’il Kim and Benny Boom debating Social Security privatization! Kevin Bacon extolling the virtues of U.S. antidumping policy! Woody Harrelson and Rebecca Romijn-Stamos discussing European troop-deployment plans for the 21st century!

O.K., maybe it’s not that bad, but it seems that every two-bit celebrity not currently occupying the center square on a morning game show is lining up to join in an anti-Bush advertising campaign sponsored by multibillionaire George Soros’s pet political project Moveon.org. According to the Washington Post, “a celebrity-saturated effort to defeat the president kicks into high gear [this week] with a premiere featuring music by Moby, the Roots and Natalie Merchant, and appearances by actor Kevin Bacon, liberal radio hosts Al Franken and Jeaneane Garafalo and onetime candidate Howard Dean.” Woody Harrelson has lent a hand in writing, directing, and starring in a short feature titled Cheney is Not on Our Side.

Now, don’t get me wrong. For reasons that should be apparent, I like Rebecca Romijn-Stamos as much as the next guy. I thought her two-minute appearance in the second Austin Powers film was worth a giggle or two. And Kevin Bacon had his breakthrough part in one of the classic films of all time, National Lampoon’s Animal House ? even if everything went downhill thereafter. Rob Reiner, of course, has done some interesting things in film, allowing him to separate himself ? at least to some degree ? from his role as Michael “Meathead” Stivic. And I’m sure that, if I had absolutely any clue about what was going on in popular music today, I’d have some witty observation about Moby, above and beyond a play on his name.

But, assuming the mantle of those who could not afford the price of admission ? or, who, for some unfathomable reason chose not to attend ? last night’s Bush-bashing soiree, let me express this sentiment: We simply don’t care. We don’t care that Moby is upset that “George Bush pretends to be a cowboy” while running up “the largest federal deficit in history.” We don’t care that Benny Boom thinks “George Bush is probably the first real gangsta we’ve had in office.” We don’t care about Bruce Springsteen’s thoughts on “economic justice, transparent government, how do we treat our weakest citizens, say, in foreign policy.” The views of Hollywood, Broadway, Motown, and for that matter, the runways of Paris and New York don’t add an ounce of weight to the serious issues facing our country in this Presidential election. To quote Bill Murray in Meatballs, “It just doesn’t matter.”

But it does seem to matter to the people running the Democratic campaign for president. Far from running from the most extreme element of Hollywood (if there is such a thing), they’ve embraced Michael Moore and his colleagues as the voice of the party. Was it an accident that Moore sat ringside with former President Carter during the Democratic Convention in Boston? Or that Ben Affleck is taking time off from his filming schedule to appear at campaign events with John Kerry and John Edwards? Of course not. Apparently, the movers and shakers on that side of the political divide believe that slurs and slogans belted out by such heavyweight talents as Margaret Cho and Ione Skye will have a measurable impact on the way Americans view this election. The Republicans seem to be making the same mistake, trotting out Wayne Newton, Bo Derek, and a lesser Baldwin, Stephen (which one is he?) at next week’s convention to prove that they too can attract meaningless endorsements from celebrities currently fit to star in a late-night reality show on UPN.

It would be nice to think that Americans can’t be sold on a presidential election the same way it could be sold on, say, the latest model of BMW or the next great brand of cereal. But Hollywood seems to have a different view. As Bruce Springsteen told a timid Ted Koppel recently on ABC’s Nightline: “You build up credibility, and you build it up for a reason, you know, over a long period of time, and hopefully we’ve built up that credibility with our audience… And I think there comes a time when you feel, all right, I’ve built this up, and it’s time to spend some of this.”

I’m sure Springsteen does have credibility with a lot of people. When he puts out a new album, rock-music critics go ga-ga. He can wail on the guitar. For some reason I’ve never figured out, a lot of people like his raspy voice. It’s all-American. But I am probably in the minority. An undisclosed friend of mine currently working for the Republican National Committee has traversed the country hopping freight cars like a hobo to see him sing. But what makes the Boss think that his “credibility” extends even remotely to the realm of political discourse, I’ll never understand.

But it continues. Babs Streisand spends her waking hours posting DNC talking points about “Dick Cheney’s voting record” on her website and rewriting her catalog of songs with such clever lyrics as (sung to the tune of “People”): “Rumsfeld/We must get rid of Rumsfeld/He’s the spookiest person in the world.” No political myth ? stolen elections, disenfranchised minorities, “Republican voter suppression efforts” ? is too extreme for the celebrity voice of the Democratic party.

A couple of years ago, ESPN ran a great series of commercials with great sports figures doing common jobs around the ESPN studios. Like Roger Clemens, the six-time Cy Young award-winning pitcher, making copies or getting coffee for the staff. It was supposed to be satire ? what happens when a great sports figure switches places with the common man? Moveon.org’s new campaign has the feel of that campaign, with all manner of celebrities dabbling in politics. The only trouble is that it’s not satire. It’s the real deal.

We should all run out, get some popcorn and enjoy the show. If only we cared.

? Shannen W. Coffin, a Washington, D.C., attorney, is a former deputy assistant attorney general for the civil division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

As I said above, perhaps the economic ideas are a bit more disputed than a Kerry press release would indicate.

On the One Hand…

September 3, 2004

Take your pick: The U.S. economy is in great shape and could use even more tax cuts. Or the tax cuts are creating giant deficits and are undermining American economic health.

No, this is not the latest spin from the Bush and Kerry campaigns. These strikingly different conclusions come from a rarefied group: some Nobel laureates in economics. Some say President Bush’s tax cuts will create more savings and investment and power economic growth. Others, though, say large deficits are putting the economy at risk and tax cuts have had little or no effect as a stimulus.

In separate interviews, Milton Friedman and Vernon L. Smith played down the risks of the deficit and welcomed even more tax cuts. The deficit “is not a problem if the government holds down spending,” Mr. Friedman says. “The economy will grow and develop, and the deficit will decline.”

However, George A. Akerlof, Lawrence R. Klein, Robert M. Solow and Joseph E. Stiglitz criticized the Bush administration’s economic policies. Indeed, they are among 10 Nobel laureates in economics who recently endorsed Sen. John Kerry for president. With the change from a budget surplus under former President Clinton to record budget deficits, Mr. Bush’s economic policy represents “a major risk to the American economy,” Mr. Stiglitz says.

Weak Recovery in Jobs

The state of the U.S. economy will be a key factor in the remaining two months of the presidential election campaign. The government reported last month that employers added just 32,000 jobs in July – the lowest total this year and a sharp slowdown from the spring. Moreover, the job worries sent consumer confidence tumbling in August. Consumer pessimism has been fed by high gasoline prices this summer and a rise in interest rates. Even so, few analysts believe the U.S. is headed back into recession because some other economic indicators have been positive, such as a rebound in retail sales. The unemployment rate is 5.5%, the lowest level in three years.

“The economy is doing very, very well,” contends Mr. Friedman, the 1976 Nobel laureate in economics. “What people are complaining about is that the recession wasn’t deeper. Had the recession been deeper, the current recovery would be stronger. When you have a mild recession, you tend to have a mild expansion. When you have a severe recession, you tend to have a vigorous expansion.”

In late July, the White House projected a record budget deficit of $445 billion (?365 billion) for fiscal 2004, which ends Sept. 30. That’s down from its previous estimate of $521 billion. Democrats say the budget shortfall shows deteriorating U.S. fiscal health.

‘Deficits Do Matter’

“Most economists think that deficits do matter when they get very large,” says Mr. Stiglitz, a 2001 Nobel laureate and a former chairman of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. “There’s a debate about how aggressive one should pursue deficit reduction. This kind of deficit is so large that this debate is not necessary.”

Mr. Klein contends the dividend tax cut significantly increased the budget deficit. Under Mr. Bush’s tax plan, the tax rate for most individual investors on corporate dividends was cut to 15%. Previously, investors had paid tax on dividends at their personal-income-tax rate, which could be as high as 39%.

“I think the tax policy in general is not well conceived,” says Mr. Klein, the 1980 Nobel laureate. “It should have been for people who would have been highly likely to spend a good share of it, and it was not engineered that way.” What the U.S. needs, he says, “is a tax concession for the relatively lower and middle income groups who will be likely to spend it.”

For his part, Mr. Friedman says “the top 1% of taxpayers pay a disproportionate amount of taxes. You can’t give tax relief to those who don’t pay a lot of tax.” Wealthy taxpayers, he says, “end up either investing it or giving it away.”

President Bush wants Congress to make permanent the tax cuts enacted during his administration, while Sen. Kerry wants to repeal the tax cuts for high-income Americans. He would raise the top marginal income tax rate of 35% back up to 39.6%, increase the 15% top rate on dividends to as high as 39.6% and raise the top rate on capital gains on securities held more than one year to as much as 20% from 15%.

Mr. Smith, a 2002 Nobel laureate, calls Mr. Kerry’s idea of repealing tax cuts for the wealthiest taxpayers “bad policy” that creates a risk of reducing savings and investment. “Some 90% of taxes are paid by the upper 50% income-tax bracket,” he says. “No one gets anything if there isn’t anything. Productivity, innovation and wealth creation is the only source of poverty reduction and human betterment.”

The anti-Bush laureates counter that the administration’s tax cuts have been a failure on two counts: Not only have they failed to give a short-term stimulus to the economy, they argue, but the tax cuts have failed in moral terms by widening the income gap.

“It seems to be almost a paradox that we’re now taxing income from capital – from unearned sources – at a much lower rate than income from earned sources,” says Mr. Akerlof, a 2001 Nobel laureate whose wife is Janet L. Yellen, a former chair of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers and the current president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “I would have thought that one of the first requisites of fair taxation is that unearned income on capital should be taxed at at least the same rate as the income earned by labor.”

Mr. Akerlof also argues that the Bush stimulus package puts the economy at risk. “If there are large deficits down the road, they can raise long-term interest rates,” causing the opposite of a stimulus, he says.

Mr. Friedman, on the other hand, welcomes permanent tax cuts and says higher deficits will eventually restrain government spending. And Mr. Smith says the dividend tax cut “did not go far enough. The double taxation should end, and its end is long overdue. To me it should not even be a political and partisan issue.”

Mr. Solow says that despite the slower-than-average upswing after the end of a recession, he doesn’t expect growth to halt. “I think that politically we will go into the election with an economy that is not a disaster at all but an economy that is not a great success,” he says. “We’ll have the usual spectacle of the incumbents picking out every good thing that has happened and the Democrats picking out every bad thing that has happened.”