“You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” he said, noting that growth has held up at about 1 percent despite all the publicity over losing jobs to India, China, illegal immigration, housing and credit problems and record oil prices. “We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet.”

“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.

“We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,” he said. “We have benefited greatly” from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.

“Misery sells newspapers,” Mr. Gramm said. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day.”

-Phil Gramm 7/10/08

Category: Markets, Really, really bad calls

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

44 Responses to “Quote of the Day: Phil Gramm”

  1. Mannwich says:

    You’re really poking at us today with this one, Barry. I’m already cranky about things today and you had to hit us with that? Thanks a lot!

    ~~~

    BR: It was exactly 5 months ago today . . .

  2. larster says:

    We wonder why Blago tries to auction off a Senate seat and Ted Stevens shakes down execs for furniture/remodeling. The arrogance and disdain for the average citizen that drives this behaviour comes through loud and clear from Phil Gramm.

  3. albnyc says:

    I don’t want to be tagged as a Gramm-o-phile, but wasn’t this a less (not) eloquent expression of what David Carr wrote Monday in the NY Times? Just askin…

    ~~~

    BR: Gramm said we weren’t in a recession (when we were)
    Carr said we weren’t in a depression (when we weren’t)

  4. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    We are whiners…but it is the nature of democracy. Let me be King for five years and I’ll solve, or at least make the world a better place. In fact my new country has rotating forms of government written into its constitution. lol

  5. Mannwich says:

    @JustinTheSkeptic: True, but that coming from one’s Dad (or Mom) is one thing. Coming from that a-hole Gramm (who played his own role in causing this mess) is condescending and an entirely different story……

  6. Amos Satterlee says:

    Just ran into this one. Seems appropriate.
    http://ashizashiz.blogspot.com/2008/12/global-poker-tour-allegory.html

  7. Mannwich says:

    A bit OT, but does anyone else find it utterly ridiculous that the market seems to be waiting for yet another bailout to decide what direction it wants to go? We’ve seen this story before – bailout proposed, bailout politicized & argued, bailout passed, markets rally, markets dive lower than before after the realilty that things are no better than they were before hits home. Why, pray tell, would this time be any different?

  8. “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” ~ Plato

  9. Winston Munn says:

    I looked up “hubris” in the dictionary and found a picture of Phil Gramm; oddly when I looked up “delusional” I found the same picture; I am now too afraid to look up “powerbroker”.

  10. KJ Foehr says:

    @Mannwich

    The cumulative effect?

  11. Mannwich says:

    KJ Foehr Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 2:51 pm
    @Mannwich

    The cumulative effect?

    Answer: Bad. Should I elaborate?

  12. Mannwich says:

    @WM: Look up the word “sociopath” as well……

  13. DL says:

    Mannwich @ 2:41

    “Why, pray tell, would this time be any different?”

    Another 3-5 trillion or so, and they’ll finally get it right.

    (And by then, the Fed chairman will have to start jacking up interest rates again).

  14. Mannwich says:

    @DL: Great. And millions of people like me and my wife (who have been very conservative/responsible to this point) will probably end up losing our homes anyway. Heck of a job, Ben and Hank!

    If they go forward with this ludicrous plan to reduce mortgage rates to 4.5%, it’s time for us to sell, to “the greater fool”, grab/bank our equity, and rent again.

  15. LFC says:

    And to think, the nation was probably just a little more than 8-1/2 million votes from having this a**hat as Treasury Secretary.

    It would make sense, though. Lots of top execs in the financial industry are still walking about with big bonuses for failure. Gramm would just be one more person rewarded for failure.

  16. constantnormal says:

    Are the Swiss laws against banking management malfeasance still in existence?

    Might we be treated to Phil Gramm (Vice Chairman, UBS) doing hard time in a Swiss prison?

    T’would be an exquisite delight …

  17. the0ther says:

    i somehow doubt there’s such a thing as hard time in a swiss prison. send that asshole to riker’s or some other american PMITA prison. pleeeeeeeeease?

  18. VennData says:

    Phil Gramm might have been McCain’s Sec. of Treasury if he hadn’t spieled out this blather. McCain took a hit in the polls after it too. Imagine if he’d kept his thoughts to himself, and McCain won?

    Instead of Prez-elect Obama’s aggressive appointments of from-the-sidelines policy promises, Gramm might have been just sitting there, mole-like, in a hole somewhere wondering how to get Wall Street more levered up.

  19. If misery sells newspapers, then Giles Corey was William Randolph Hearst.

  20. from Kent, above:

    “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” ~ Plato

    IOW: “You may not have an Interest in Politics, but Politics, surely, has an Interest in you.”

  21. Ventura2012 says:

    The Gramm quote reminds me of all the liberals in late 1999 saying how great the economy was. As it goes to show, neither democrats nor republicans can distinquish a bubble from economic growth.

  22. The Gramm quote reminds me of all the liberals in late 1999 saying how great the economy was. As it goes to show, neither democrats nor republicans can distinquish a bubble from economic growth.

    Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. Also, the pertinent facts prove you wrong. When Gramm said this on 7/10/08, the U.S. had already been in recession for 8 months according to the NBER, who say the recession began in 12/07. In late 1999, the U.S. was not in a recession and would not be in a recession for another two years, until the March 2001 – November 2001.

    Cheers.

  23. Ventura2012 says:

    Your conclusion does not follow from your premise. Also, the pertinent facts prove you wrong. When Gramm said this on 7/10/08, the U.S. had already been in recession for 8 months according to the NBER, who say the recession began in 12/07. In late 1999, the U.S. was not in a recession and would not be in a recession for another two years, until the fall of 2001 and winter of 2001/2002.

    Cheers.

    So under your flawed logic as you state above as long as we are currently not in a recession it does not matter if the gains are a result of true economic growth or merely the result of a bubble as was the case in 1998-2000 from the dot com craze. As soon will be played out, the entire growth resulting from the Greenspan Put, which gave off the false illusion of growth under Clinton, when all we really had was a first in the series of bubbles will vanish away. Under your premise the economy would have been great in 2006-11/07 even though it was all a ficticious bubble as was the case in 1999.

    Cheers.

  24. skardin says:

    It’s one thing to think positively and another to ignore reality. Someone like Phil Grimm is just out of touch with reality.

  25. jmborchers says:

    Red is coming again. We got some stocks with no after hours bid (-3 to -5%)

  26. Mannwich says:

    Mannwich Says:

    December 10th, 2008 at 2:11 pm
    You’re really poking at us today with this one, Barry. I’m already cranky about things today and you had to hit us with that? Thanks a lot!

    ~~~

    BR: It was exactly 5 months ago today . . .

    Is it me or does it really feel like it was 5 YEARS ago today that he said it? What a long year…..

  27. “Is it me or does it really feel like it was 5 YEARS ago today that he said it? What a long year…..”

    Mannwich,

    though I’m not sure about 5 YEARS, I would concede Cat 5 Daze..

    as an aside, up there in 10 000 Lakes land, do you root for State, or U. ?

  28. DeDude says:

    Phil Gramm will forever be remembered as the old fool with the mental recession.

  29. Mannwich says:

    @Hoffer: I’m not a MN native but I root for the U. Football team is usually mediocre-to-awful (although they improved a bit this year and are getting a new outdoor on-campus stadium courtesy of we taxpayers…no, we didn’t get to vote on it either) but they always have good hockey and the hoops team is mightily improving with Tubby Smith as coach.

    Might have to check out some hoops games this year at old Williams Arena. Great old school arena. Reminds me a little of the old Boston Garden, but it’s much nicer (has been renovated) and cleaner. Has that old-school feel to it with the raised floor and the upper deck that overhangs the lower deck a bit. A lot louder and more of a home court advantage than the newer cookie cutter arenas when it’s full and the team is decent.

  30. bri says:

    Mannwich, regarding rallies

    yeah, it’s fairly shocking that you’re able to do the same trade over and over and over (short/long put the gov’t bailouts).

    are these new bulls that come in each time? or masochistic longs averaging down torpedo?

    i’m waiting for sanity to take hold (maybe next year) when we let a big one fail (like GS) and the market rallies on the NON-intervention.

    right now, everything possible we can do wrong, we are doing it.

    self-destruct.

  31. Mannwich,

    I hear ya, yon’ Golden Gophers are, usually, a Lock to cough up ‘the little Brown Jug’, and Tubby, from what I know, is a quality Hoopin’-mentor..

    past that, though, from this: “…a new outdoor on-campus stadium courtesy of we taxpayers…no, we didn’t get to vote on it either”, this: “no, we didn’t get to vote on it either”, strikes me as curious.

    I would have thought, from your expressed, Political, proclivities, that you would have been down, deep, with whatever your central-planning overseers saw fit for you (?)

    EZ, language a little sharp..

    Past that, the Fleet Center, in comparison, Blows DD..

  32. harold hecuba says:

    coming from the planet sprnxtyxye from the galaxy frayxnzxxyxx

  33. Mannwich says:

    @Hoffer: LOL. My liberal (I prefer the label “pragmatic liberal” but I digress) disposition is not entirely consistent (remember: “consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds”…….I know you know who wrote that but he was, probably much to your surprise, one of my favorite writers in college who opened my eyes years ago and got me to “think” a little).

    As big a sports fan that I am, taxpayer subsidies (or should I say robbery) for stadiums, ballparks, and arenas are one of the biggest scams (or should I say extortions) ever foisted on the sheeple. They use the emotion of the issue to get taxpayers and our so-called “representatives”, who use the issue for political gain (suprise, surprise), to roll over, play dead, and give up the farm to already wealthy people/entities who should be paying for their own toys but know full well the path to wealth is using “other peoples’ money”, especially for money-losing boondoggles.

    Fleet Center is terrible, although they have improved it somewhat over the years. You are right. It’s so bad, it’s now named the TD Banknorth Garden or whatever failing corporation is willing to spend ridiculous sums (Citigroup) of loot to slap their name on it. I miss the rat-infested, grimy Garden though…..lots of good memories in there that can’t be duplicated.

  34. The dead enders don’t like reality.

    I may have to throw a firebomb their way tomorrow.

  35. Mannwich,

    I hear ya, that’s why I like the name: “Fleet Center”, as in, your ‘investment’, either as taxpayer, or as ‘Investor’–in that ‘Bank’–was ‘Fleet’, on its way out the Door..

    as an aside, remember: it’s a Foolish consistency…that breeds great ills..

    and, to Quote: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)
    QUOTATION: A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
    http://www.bartleby.com/100/420.47.html

    given the crack at the end of that, popularly truncated quote, we, really, should Wonder about Ourselves..

    Though, thanks for bringing that back, RWE, and his pal, HDT, have long been favorites of mine..

  36. bhwhite says:

    What a relief.

    Just when I was beginning to worry about the economy, I read Gramm’s comments and remembered: This man has been right about everything since he came to the US Senate, and he has been even more right since leaving.

    Perhaps he might move to Crawford, or is it Dallas now the “rancher thing” is unneeded, and join that other great Texan who is always right. Just imagine those two sages standing by whenever we need them.

    If we had only listened to them back when they were in charge, its likely we would be in a even stronger position than we are.

  37. AGG says:

    Barry,
    Sorry for this off topic thing but this fellow richard has historical inaccuracies clogging his neurons.
    Richard says, “The first railroads (US 1820s and 1830s, say) used squared logs topped with iron straps, as wood alone lacked longevity. By the early 1840s (that’s 20+ years before the Civil War) solid iron (later steel) rails in something very close to the shape we know today were already in almost universal use, exceptions being the smallest, slowest, shortest railroads (Adirondack mining and logging roads, for example). That is, strap iron rails were a stage of development, not the produce of plutocrat parsimony. ”
    The big accidents didn’t even start until 1837. The iron straps were replaced as locomotive weight AND accidents forced the move and they were still there in 1864 in more than half (universally eliminated, my ass!) of the rail lines. You are a railroad apologist, not a historian.
    You, sir, are wrong. If you want to sugar coat American industrial history, i’m sure you’l find a lot of phd PR hacks in university departments to back you up. Truth is in short supply these days. If my credibility is shot with you then continue to disagree with me. You’ll still be wrong. Why don’t you go buy some BNI like Buffett? It’s one of those saintly railroads. Did you know where we got corporate personhood from? THE RAILROADS. Sell it to someone else, pal.

  38. bhwhite,

    kindly, though, with this: “Perhaps he might move to Crawford, or is it Dallas now the “rancher thing” is unneeded, and join that other great Texan who is always right. Just imagine those two sages standing by whenever we need them. “–you might think about breaking your addiction to HeadlineNews..

    wtf? of course, see:
    http://www.grandinite.com/2007/08/24/bush-buys-99000-acre-compound-on-aquifer-in-paraguay/
    or, if you rather:
    http://www.icerocket.com/search?tab=web&lng=&q=chaco%2C+paraguay+bush
    ~~
    AGG:

    with this: “Truth is in short supply these days. If my credibility is shot with you then continue to disagree with me….Did you know where we got corporate personhood from? THE RAILROADS.”

    No kidding. That’s the way it is, in the Marketplace.

    Repeal the 14th Amendment!~

    Remember, the Constitution has soo many Amendments, the ‘Constitution’ is now Un-Constitutional.

  39. Winston Munn says:

    To the tune of Seargant Pepper

    It was five years ago today
    Phil Gramm told us how to play
    You’re all a bunch of whiney dudes
    And I’m sorry I ever helped you
    If you ever need another hand
    Don’t look my way again
    The Whiney Loser Exceptional American Band

  40. AGG says:

    Hoffer,
    Sorry about alluding to you being a high bidder the other day. I guess I got carried away.
    I will continue to point out what I perceive as way to much apologizing for corporate rapacious behavior by many commenters. Opinion is great but shilling, hypocracy and sanctimoneous holier than thou attitudes towards capitalism or any other “ism” are not acceptable to me. I never ran with the crowd and I don’t think you have either. That said, I think Mannwich has a much better handle on reality than you do, with all due respect to your erudition.

  41. AGG says:

    Hoffer,
    So, do you agree with corporate personhood? If so, is it based on a Supreme Court decision from the 19th century or the Constitution?
    Phil Graham loves corporate personhood. Limited liability and immortality all in one package. Don’t you just love that marketplace? I’m sure if King Kong had been real, he’d have always open to competition from the neighboring human tribes.

  42. AGG says:

    Sorry about the typos. I hope it’s true that intelligent people are lousy spellers.

  43. Mannwich says:

    This is comforting (from Calculated Risk):

    Four years ago I predicted the Total Public Debt Outstanding would reach $10 trillion by the time Mr. Bush left office in Jan 2009. I jokingly called him the “$10 trillion man”.

    I was too optimistic.

    The Total Public Debt Outstanding is now over $10.6 trillion. And the budget deficit has grown significantly.

    From MarketWatch: U.S. Nov. budget deficit $164.4 bln vs $98.2 bln yr-ago

    The U.S. federal government deficit soared again in November to $164.4 billion, the Treasury Department reported Wednesday. This is a record shortfall for the month of November.

    The graphs, especially the second one, are quite, ahem, illuminating……..

  44. AGG,

    with this: “So, do you agree with corporate personhood? If so, is it based on a Supreme Court decision from the 19th century or the Constitution?”

    no, ‘corporate personhood’ w/o the ‘death penalty’, a la Nader, is atrocious.

    re: what was its ‘birthing’ based on? I’d have to 2x-check, though, I was under the impression that it was derived from the 14th Amendment..