July 8, 2011

Alan Greenspan explains it all

Q. Why are you puzzled over the current U.S. trade debate? 
A. “It is almost completely focused on job creation. But it has never been clear to me why jobs are the object of trade. ... 
Q. Which nation illustrates the folly of trying to create jobs through trade? 
A. “The Chinese. They are manipulating their currency in order to get low-quality, high-labor-content products produced — for maximum employment. They are distorting their economic structure and creating long-term economic damage. I don’t know why we should be attracted to that general principle.” 
"In the United States, the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to that of the retiring baby boomers." 
Q. Turning back to the United States, what demographic shift will have major economic implications? 
A. “In the United States, we are in the process of seeing the baby boomers — the most productive, highly skilled, educated part of our labor force — retire. They are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly in international educational match-ups over the last two decades.” 
Q. What else points to the inability of young workers to compete? 
A. “Most disturbing is that the average income of U.S. households headed by 25-year-olds and younger has been declining relative to the average income of the baby boomer population. This is a reasonably good indication that the productivity of the younger part of our workforce is declining relative to the level of productivity achieved by the retiring baby boomers. This raises some major concerns about the productive skills of our future U.S. labor force.”  
Q. Can the U.S. government counter this trend?
A. “Yes, there are options to combat that decline, but contrary to what many people believe, we do very poorly in opening up our borders to skilled immigrants. Our H1-B visa restrictions are a disgrace. Most high-income people in our country do not realize that their incomes are being subsidized by their protection from competition from highly skilled people who are prevented from immigrating to the United States. But we need such skills in order to staff our productive economy, so that the standard of living for Americans as a whole can grow.” 
Q. What needs to change with respect to U.S. immigration? 
A. “My view is that we should give a green card to every immigrant who gets an advanced degree in the United States. The proportion of those people who will be terrorists is miniscule. That would have a major positive economic impact.” 
A.. "Most high-income Americans do not realize that their incomes are being subsidized by highly skilled people being prevented from immigrating to the United States." 
Q. How could immigration reform reduce income inequality? 
A. “Most of the debate on income inequality correctly focuses on raising the level of low-income individuals. However, it also works by lowering top-level incomes via more competitive immigration. There is much academic research demonstrating that it is the relative position of people in society that fosters views of ‘fairness,’ not one’s absolute status.” 
Q. How else can the United States make itself more competitive? 
A. “History tells us that it is those societies that have the most advanced cutting-edge technologies that have the highest standards of living. That’s always been the case. If the United States is now slipping in this regard, it is basically because of our increasingly dysfunctional primary education system.”


61 comments:

Jonathan said...

"If the United States is now slipping in this regard, it is basically because of our increasingly dysfunctional primary education system.”

Not those bad teachers again! The Goverment should do something about it. :)

Aaron Baugher said...

Wow, could he be any more condescending toward American workers? He claims young Americans aren't as productive as their elders, and apparently he has no ideas for how to increase their skill or productivity -- or even the hope that such a thing is possible -- so the only answer is to bring in skilled immigrants.

And apparently even an unskilled immigrant is superior to an American citizen, since he wants to use green cards to entice immigrants into the same American colleges that are turning out unproductive Americans!

jody said...

LOL! this interview is the best joke i've read in weeks.

a close runner up is that twitter OWNAGE bill maher delivered to kim kardashian.

kardashian: WHAT!!!!???!!!! CASEY ANTHONY FOUND NOT GUILTY!!!I am speechless!!!

maher: Kim Kardashian is upset with Casey Anthony verdict? Ur father defended O.J.! Starting the Kardashian tradition of getting black men off.

Anonymous said...

I sort of get what absolute vs relative status means then, again, I sort of don't.

Felix said...

Q. How could immigration reform reduce income inequality?

A. “Most of the debate on income inequality correctly focuses on raising the level of low-income individuals. However, it also works by lowering top-level incomes via more competitive immigration


Hahaha! Let's lower the income gap by making the top 5% earn less! White America, the hustlers of this world (no group in particular) love you. You let them put guys like this in charge of ruining your economy, and his brethren in charge of sending your sons get their limbs blown off in the meatgrinder, and you faithfully show up at the 4th of July parades at the end. Haha.

RS said...

To dig down just alayer further, I wonder why the quality of the education system has declined so much. Probably sunspot cycles or something.

Anonymous said...

How did we let a guy with that kind of mentality control the most important institution of our country for over two decades?

I hate to say this, but this interview could have been a cut and paste right out of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

Gc said...

lo"Most of the debate on income inequality correctly focuses on raising the level of low-income individuals. However, it also works by lowering top-level incomes via more competitive immigration."

Assuming high enough top-level income immigration to counter the effect of large low-level immigration. Cool way to achieve equality by making "everyone*" poorer.

*)Someone will get richer, of course:)

Anonymous said...

This moron is the Alan Greenspan, right?

Eric said...

My view is that we should give a green card to every immigrant who gets an advanced degree in the United States.

I'm okay with stapling a green card to every PhD physics diploma. A PhD in Chicano studies or 17th century French literature? Not so much. And I'm only okay with the physics guys because I think they're probably net creators of jobs.

Greenspan seems to be taking the view that the economy is some kind of jealous god that must be appeased, and that everything is okay if GDP growth is okay. Why would I care whether or not the US economy is booming if all the jobs I might have gotten as a result are snatched up by immigrants?

The H1-B program isn't being used to import ace programmers and engineers. In practice most of the people who get in are bottom-dollar low-skilled people taking advantage of the fact we can't check their credentials.

It seems like every other week some general or congressman is bemoaning the lack of interest in STEM by US students. Well, if you're smart enough to succeed in these areas you're smart enough to figure out you're never gonna get a decent raise while the government is undercutting your wages.

Harry Baldwin said...

A. “Yes, there are options to combat that decline, but contrary to what many people believe, we do very poorly in opening up our borders to skilled immigrants.

Why doesn't Greenspan add the obvious corollary: We do all too well in opening our bordered to unskilled immigrants. If you understand that some immigrants have more to offer than others, how can you not understand that it weakens us tremendously to let in so many immigrants that are a net drain.

Terry Gross of NPR's "Fresh Air" did the same thing a few days ago. Debating the DREAM act with her guest Mark Krikorian, she said that illegal alien Jose Antonio Vargas is exactly the sort of immigrant we should want, as he's "bright, talented and articulate." I wanted to ask Terry, "If we want bright, talented, articulate immigrants, why are liberals in favor of admitting so many that are none of those things?"

Anonymous said...

there's really a website called the globalists.

How did we let a guy with that kind of mentality control
We?

Anonymous said...

This is a pretty good representation of elite thinking in America today.

Anonymous said...

The man comes off as an utterly clueless jackass. He manages to be smug and ignorant in the same breath. What's next deporting American citizens to make room for these superior foreigners? Maybe we should bail out a few more of his friends? He can fall off the planet for all he is worth.

Kaz said...

America is not failing to complete with the international world I'm sick of this bs.

Comparing averaged scores of a country of 300mil to countries with pop. of 6-80mil or specific cities inside China doesn't mean jack shit.

Eric said...

On the other hand, Greenspan is 85. He may just be losing his marbles.

Dave said...

"I sort of get what absolute vs relative status means then, again, I sort of don't."

It means people are driven more by envy than greed. It's why rich liberals don't mind if the government raises taxes on them, but won't voluntarily pay more in taxes than they're legally required. See Eric Falkenstein: "Why Envy Dominates Greed".

Anonymous said...

Cranky commenters simply can't fathom Dr Greenspan's mind. Just shut up and let him and his folks run the country.

1 Jewish elites lead a gentile nation to greatness.

2 History shows that the formula works best if tens of millions of mestizos and other non-whites are imported also.

America's greatest days are ahead!

Anonymous said...

In the United States, we are in the process of seeing the baby boomers — the most productive, highly skilled, educated part of our labor force — retire. They are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly in international educational match-ups over the last two decades.

In all seriousness, has anyone corrected these numbers for race?

How are young white and asian Americans doing relative to the boomer whites & boomer asians?

And has anyone corrected these  catastrophic  new  unemployment  figures  for race?

What are the white unemployment numbers? The black unemployment numbers? The naturalized citizen hispanic unemployment numbers? The illegal alien hispanic unemployment numbers?

Anonymous said...

Isn't funny how stopping illegal immigration or even reducing it is NEVER the answer but Open borders always is?

When its a Liberal political figure or economist.

Liberal think: Want to reduce unemployment? Import more workers!

Thripshaw said...

Are you sure that The Globalist isn't an Onion-style parody?

The picture of Greenspan that goes with the interview looks at least 3 decades old.

Looks like a spoof to me. Then again, since The Globalist just parrots the NYT, WSJ "bipartisan" consensus, it really doesn't make any difference.

Satire writes itself these days.

Anonymous said...

It's so obvious, by his logic, that the income gap could also be reduced by restricting unskilled immigration.

Wonder why he doesn't mention that? I suppose that would be *racist*.

Robert Hume

JSM said...

Okay, let's import some orangutans as Federal Reserve governors. Can't do any worse than Easy Al "What Housing Bubble?" Greenspan. Plus, they'd cost less. Why, there'd be income equalization coming out your ears.

OH! And the increased productivity, too, having them moonlight in the primate display at the zoo.

NOTA said...

Alan Greenspan's old job was, basically, to be the inscrutible genius figurehead who got to be in charge of the Fed. So long as things went reasonably well (which they generally will), he could claim credit. When we had problems, he could often claim to have made them less bad then they would have been.

Now, the Fed has some important jobs. But to a large extent, rather like the president, the Fed chairman's job is to preside over something incomprehensibly big and complex over which he has extremely limited power using very blunt tools, to take credit when things go well, and to take the fall when things go badly.

IOW, Greenspan is probably a pretty bright guy, modulo whatever age-related decline and living in ideological and power-elite bubbles most of his adult life has done to him. But he's probably not any kind of deep font of insight or wisdom. And honestly, he wasn't even when he was the Great and Powerful Oz running the Fed.

Anonymous said...

One thing that comes to mind reading the quoted bit of the interview: As best I can tell from outside, China wants lots of jobs and opportunity for lots of its citizens, because that's where the current government gets its legitimacy from. Nobody believes that Maoist nonsense anymore--if the majority of educated, ambitious Chinese come to believe their government can't deliver opportunity for them, someone new will get a chance running things.

Rohan Swee said...

Reading this, one could be charitable and allow that a once-sharp mind is succumbing to senility. Not being charitable, I just think that the balls-to-the-wall stupid on display here is the man himself, age having deprived him of that bit of social aptitude/filter that he once used to translate his "ideas" into the oracular hoo-ha that bamboozled the willingly credulous, and probably even himself.

Greenspan is a blithering rebuke to IQ fetishism. Not that cognitive horsepower doesn't matter. Obviously, it does. Equally obviously, it's a necessary but far from sufficient metric, and our current "meritocracy" can only throw up clowns like Greenspan, who doesn't have what it takes (nobody has what it takes to rule the way technocrats think they can rule), and doesn't have what it takes to know that he doesn't have what it takes.

Then again, there are many, many people who can intuit that everything he says here is crazy, and a fair number who can both intuit and articulate why everything he says here is crazy, yet...here we are. How long you gonna blame the Elders of Zion for letting your country be wrecked by crazy people?

NOTA said...

Arggh! Anon 7/8/11 7:13 PM is me, I just hit enter too soon....

Anonymous said...

Yes, I suppose importing a bunch of doctors would lower medical costs and improve the standard of living for people who aren't doctors. But why would anyone listen to Alan Greenspan any more than a drunk on the street. With his failure to see or confront an 8 trillion dollar housing bubble (the biggest asset bubble in the history of the world), he is the single person most responsible for our economic crisis.

Anonymous said...

So:
1. Who cares about American jobs?

2. We need to import Engineers cause our kids are so stupid.
(Though why we can't we just enjoy the fruits of foreign engineering w/o even bothering to have them here? After all, see point 1.)

3. Don't talk about the depression. I mean it.

4. It's ok for me to sneer at overpaid engineers because as a long time government employee.. Well, never mind.

David said...

It's our turn to sputter!

>On the other hand, Greenspan is 85. He may just be losing his marbles.<

Good point, but he never really had them. He was an acolyte of Alissa Rosenbaum ("Ayn Rand") and even betrayed those "principles."

>How long you gonna blame the Elders of Zion for letting your country be wrecked by crazy people?<

I don't recall voting for Greenspan. Or for that matter, any of these Elders you speak of.

>What's next deporting American citizens to make room for these superior foreigners? Maybe we should bail out a few more of his friends? He can fall off the planet for all he is worth.<

Indeed.

Of those 25-and-younger American slackers, how many are white? how many are among the millions of illegal immigrants? how many are among the millions of legal post-1965 immigrants? In other words, how many of these slackers are precisely the kind of people Greenspan wants here in greater numbers?

My favorite quote is his saying that he prefers to swap out a small number of employed citizens for a small number of terrorists. Nice, Alan.

Kiwiguy said...

***Greenspan is a blithering rebuke to IQ fetishism. Not that cognitive horsepower doesn't matter.***

Greenspan isn't wrong in terms of the value of smart immigrants in value creation areas. He just totally ignores the role of low skill immigration in dumbing down the population. So instead he has to scapegoat teachers.

Anonymous said...

or the increasingly dysfunctional primary students?

Eileen said...

Wow. Talk about a member of the hostile elite.

Nanonymous said...

“My view is that we should give a green card to every immigrant who gets an advanced degree in the United States. The proportion of those people who will be terrorists is miniscule. That would have a major positive economic impact.”

Bullshit. No major positive economic impact. In fact, it's negative on a balance.

Already 99% of Ph.D.s in fields that have jobs (STEM and related mostly) can without major trouble get GC. A little persistence and $5-10K to a lawyer, depending on circumstances. That's all that it takes. And most do get it. Removing wait, lawyers and money won't change anything at all.

Nanonymous said...

This post too can be titled "By Any Means Necessary"...

Reg C├Žsar said...

They are being replaced by groups of young workers who have regrettably scored rather poorly...

The proportion of [degreed immigrants] who will be terrorists is miniscule.


Someone in that "group of young workers" can't spell "minuscule".

Or is it Greenspan who can't?

Anonymous said...

Liberals bitch about inequality but then call for diversity, the main source of inequality. Of course a nation's gonna be less equal if it high IQ Jews at the top and lots of low IQ blacks and browns on the bottom. Duh.

Chief Seattle said...

Only good news is that this SOB is 80-something and will be dead soon. No one is more responsible for the crushing debt of young people and the boom-bust distortions than former-central-planner Alan Greenspan.

If going to hell were a democratic competition I'd put in my three votes for Alan Greenspan, Ted Kennedy, and Dick Cheney. Can't think of anyone who's done more to destroy the country than those three. I'd live in a trailer park in Florida and eat Top Ramen for dinner if it meant I could watch those three dancing on hot coals every night.

Anonymous said...

So basically Greenspan is saying that the way of making America a 'fairer' place is not by boosting the incomes of the poor, but by destroying the incomes of the better-off!!!.

Now you wonder why I have such contempt for economists.

Anonymous said...

Even communists aren't as evil as Greenspan.
The idea behind communism is 'equality' or 'from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs'.

- Greenspan wants to bash the well-to-do, but not in the cause of elevating the downtrodden masses.No, his idea seems to be 'keep the poor poor (by mass immigration), but also drag down the rich too (by mass immigration), so that they can get a taste of misery too.
And I always thought the whole idea of economics was to enrich every one.

This is just not perverse - it's positively evil.

eh said...

You mean Alan Greenspan is regurgitating the conventional wisdom? I never would have imagined.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese want employment for their people because they are terrified of them. Idle hands are the work of the devil.

Plethon said...

As a twenty–six year old looking at the struggles and prospects of my generational cohort, I appreciate that Mr Greenspan is here to tell us the truth—We just suck.

Anonymous said...

The income inequality that progressives are constantly talking about isn't the gap between professionals (doctors, lawyers, engineers) and blue collar workers, it's the gap between CEOs and the super wealthy and everyone else. Greenspan's immigration proposal will only increase this.

So Greenspan is against inequality. Give me a break.

Anonymous said...

"Most high-income people in our country do not realize that their incomes are being subsidized by their protection from competition from highly skilled people who are prevented from immigrating to the United States."

In contrast, I suppose the wealth of super high income people like investment bank executives has nothing to do with government subsidies or protectionism. This is funny coming from Greenspan. He bailed out so many Wall Streeters that they had a saying called the "Greenspan put."

When the Fed allows someone to use its special lending facilities to borrow trillions of dollars at below market rates (<<1%), and they can loan it at market rates or just loan it back to the treasury with a bond paying markets rates (4%) with no restrictions, the Fed is just printing money for the wealthy.

Greenspan's Fed was the welfare daddy for Wall Street. It is absurd for him to be complaining about overpaid doctors and lawyers who make orders of magnitude less money than the people he explicitly subsidized.

Greenspan needs to go down in history as a corrupt fool.

Dutch Boy said...

Mr. Greenpan might sound ridiculous but he is merely echoing mainstream economic thinking [sic].

Rohan Swee said...

David: I don't recall voting for Greenspan. Or for that matter, any of these Elders you speak of.

No, but the requisite number of Americans go right on voting in the people who go right on appointing the same old group of highly destructive "clever sillies" to important policy positions. So yes, it is a matter of Americans having the government that they deserve.

Kiwiguy:Greenspan isn't wrong in terms of the value of smart immigrants in value creation areas. He just totally ignores the role of low skill immigration in dumbing down the population.

A guy who wants to import "smart" immigrants merely for the purpose of replacing equally smart or smarter native-born, or degrading their smart-perons livelihoods into low-paid "commodity jobs", isn't pursuing long-term "value creation" by any non-insane (i.e. non-economist's) understanding of "value" or "creation".

A big whine about the "disgrace" of not having unlimited H-1B visas is the tip-off in distinguishing someone who wants choice smart immigrants whose presence is genuinely in the national interest, from someone who wants unending streams of "smart" immigrants because he's a globalist loon who doesn't get (or hates) the whole nation thing. (Which explains his thuddingly stupid comment about the Chinese being all about hanging out in the dead-end of low value-added production.)

But yeah, he unsurprisingly doesn't seem to have figured out the deleterious effects on "value creation" of all that low-skilled immigration, either.

Anonymous said...

"This moron is the Alan Greenspan, right?"

He's not a moron. We're ruled by sociopaths and this is all deliberate.

What this is is the equivalent of a stage magician performing a trick. There's a table covered by a cloth and sitting on the cloth is a collection of valuable ming vases. If the magician can remove the cloth by sleight of hand and throw it away he and his family get to keep the vases that don't get smashed in the process.

What usually happens is he ends up smashing all the vases.

(Having said that, it could be a parody. As the base insanity of what's been done to the US becomes more and more apparent parody and reality will become more or less identical.)

Anonymous said...

We COULD check the credentials of H-1bs if we really wanted to. We don't.

Kudzu Bob said...

This is just not perverse - it's positively evil.

No, it's the sort of stupidity to be expected of a phony.

Instead of trying to see Obama's birth certificate, the Republicans would have better served this country by demanding a look at Alan Greenspan's locked-away doctoral dissertation before he ever got a chance to wreck America's economy.

Mr. Anon said...

You guys just don't understand what he really means. You're not smart enough to understand the subtle nuances of his thought, steeped as it is in the highly complex and technical field of quantitative macroeconomics. Here, allow me to translate:

"F**k you!"

That's what he really means. That's what they all really mean.

Sword said...

Nanonymous said...
------
Bullshit. No major positive economic impact. In fact, it's negative on a balance.

Already 99% of Ph.D.s in fields that have jobs (STEM and related mostly) can without major trouble get GC. A little persistence and $5-10K to a lawyer, depending on circumstances. That's all that it takes. And most do get it. Removing wait, lawyers and money won't change anything at all.
------

If one removes lawyers and money from the equation, then some lawyers would get less money. That little thing would be positive, at least.

Anonymous said...

When the Fed allows someone to use its special lending facilities to borrow trillions of dollars at below market rates (<<1%), and they can loan it at market rates or just loan it back to the treasury with a bond paying markets rates (4%) with no restrictions, the Fed is just printing money for the wealthy.

Greenspan's Fed was the welfare daddy for Wall Street. It is absurd for him to be complaining about overpaid doctors and lawyers who make orders of magnitude less money than the people he explicitly subsidized.

deserves repost- Wall Street guys go on and on about the 'the free market' and open borders.. but when you bring up the fed 'hey, we nee that or else [insert absurd excuse here]

Whiskey said...

Elites are stupid. Ace of Spades has a post up, showing the stupidity of the former COO of Microsoft, Bob Herbert, who in turn extolls China's five year plans, censorship, and crony capitalism.

I'll have a post up Monday on that subject -- the stupidity/greed/remove of the elites. Elites have always been stupid, selfish, and greedy -- but nationalism used to moderate it a bit. Now even the nationalism of the Robber Barons are gone. We have Greenspan (married btw to Andrea Mitchell of NBC).

Anonymous said...

No, but the requisite number of Americans go right on voting in the people who go right on appointing the same old group of highly destructive "clever sillies" to important policy positions. So yes, it is a matter of Americans having the government that they deserve.

Maybe someone should tell Americans that the media is part of government, before we go too far blaming the voters.

Most people don't have time to do much about politics. They have enough to do earning a living and managing their lives. The ruling class has an obligation to, at the very least, come clean with the ruled.

Or they can point the finger at the voter when the mobs come for them. Either way.

Svigor

Thomas K said...

"I'm okay with stapling a green card to every PhD physics diploma..."

- I'm not. It's insanity like this that has led to fewer and fewer Americans pursuing PhDs compared to people from other countries. The salaries and job opportunities have been dwindling over the years, as more and more people from places where $3000 USD a year is a good salary will happily take peanuts in return for 60+ hr work weeks. This leads to a greater and greater share of our brain work being done by foreigners. We become increasingly reliant for innovation, security, and policy on people whose primary loyalty is to another country. Bad idea.

Rohan Swee said...

Most people don't have time to do much about politics. They have enough to do earning a living and managing their lives. The ruling class has an obligation to, at the very least, come clean with the ruled.

Svigor, since when do ruling classes take responsibility for the ruled if their feet aren't constantly held to the fire? You can't have "of the people, by the people, for the people" without an involved, informed, citizenry. Lacking that, things only get fixed by the method you bring up next:

Or they can point the finger at the voter when the mobs come for them. Either way.

Well, yeah. But when a people are reduced to sizing up the lamp posts, it means they stopped being citizens in any meaningful sense a long time ago.

I'm not apologizing for the scum at the top here; I doubt it's even possible to be a citizen in a modern mega-state like the U.S. But when a people "don't have time" to organize and fight, it's a law of life that they're going to get ruled by a predatory elite. Jus' sayin'.

Anonymous said...

The Chinese want employment for their people because they are terrified of them. Idle hands are the work of the devil.

Who knew the Chinese were such pious Protestants?

Anonymous said...

Baby Boomers were, and are, the spoiled rich kid generation. So why is there the myth of them being so productive, creative, and well-educated? More like overpaid, overemployed, overunionized, oversubsidized whiners with a near monopoly on voting power.

The Baby Boomers are the ones who left their own kids to starve on the streets while catering to immigrants.

Londoner said...

Let me guess - Greenspan's hatred for the white working classes of America is typically post-Calvinist, post-Christian, right?

Anonymous said...

Let me guess - Greenspan's hatred for the white working classes of America is typically post-Calvinist, post-Christian, right?

I do so love the "intellectual pedigree" fetishists. If they can find it in some dusty old tome, they think they've got you.

My tuppence: it's all the Egyptians' fault. AFAIK they're the ones who came up with the "obey God (me) here on Earth to get your reward in Heaven" thing. Or that's what some dusty old tome says anyway.

Svigor