Ever wonder why the political class is so easily bamboozled by special interests? Half the time it’s probably straight out corruption. But the other half of the time, the politicians actually mean well. They are just lack a basic level of knowledge about current events. And if you don’t know anything true, you’re likely to believe a lot of things that aren’t.
Take Mike Huckabee, who seems like he means well. You might remember him from his ill-fated bid for the Republican presidential nomination. Or maybe his plan to lose of lot of weight, which met much more success. These days he’s got a show of Fox News. But his economic analysis seems fairly unbalanced. On Saturday night, Huckabee adopted as his own the favourite theory of the tinfoil hat crew to explain recent turmoil in financial markets.
“Just today, a friend of mine in the financial markets indicated that he’s been doing a careful analysis of the last 12 days, and there seems to be a manipulation of the marketplace – at the last half-hour of each day, there is an extraordinary rush of computerized trading going on. He believes that there may, in fact, be evidence of economic terrorism that is fueling a lot of what’s going on. Now it’s a fascinating idea, that if somebody could break down the world economy, it would have a greater impact that any bomb ever set off. It seems to be there is plausible argument for it.”
Rachel Sklar at the Huffington Post’s Eat The Press rightly scoffs at this idea. It’s basically the short-sellers are ruining us theory on steriods, with a bit of xenophobia mixed in. What’s especially dangerous about these kind of delusions is that, if they became widespread, they’d distract us from looking at what really underlies distrust in the markets. (Hint: phony balance sheets aren’t helping.)