The wisdom of the aged

The inestimable Peter Drucker on Alan Greenspan:

“The Alan Greenspan of the 1920s and 1930s was Montagu Norman, the governor of the Bank of England. He had the same reputation as Greenspan has now. But he lost it with the Depression, the same way Greenspan will lose his. The idea that the Federal Reserve chairman has power is a delusion. The only power he has is over the interest rate, and the interest rate has ceased to be important because businesses are no longer dependent upon borrowing from banks. The interest rate is only important to the stock market, to people that short or buy on margin. For the economy — yes, if it goes up to 18% or down to 2%, but half a point is a symbolic gesture. The Fed has control only as long as people trust that when Greenspan opens his mouth, it is meaningful. But the first time it does not work — well, magicians get no second chance.”

Peter Drucker was the author I read most voraciously during my intellectual formative years. I haven’t read anything of his in over a decade, since I basically lost interest in the boring world of normal business once I entered the game industry. But it doesn’t surprise me that such an incredibly astute mind would instantly see through the Grand Charade and the Master Charlatan.

Mailvox: shades of the 16th Amendment

This showed up in the inbox. I can’t vouch for it.

Two hours of debate on CAFTA ended in the U.S. House at 10:59 p.m. Wednesday night. Representative Ray LaHood (R-Illinois), speaker pro tempore, then ordered a 15-minute vote — at the end of which CAFTA had been defeated! But with the vote kept open for more than one hour after it began, the “final” vote tally was 217 in favor to 215 against, with two not voting. Or was it? We were led to believe that the two members who didn’t vote, Jo Ann Davis (R-Virginia) and Charles Taylor (R-North Carolina) who were already on record as going to vote “no” and would have defeated CAFTA, had been persuaded to remain silent. Mr. Taylor’s was a key vote from a textile state that everyone was watching.

Republican leaders “spent much of [the] time wrestling with about 10 rebellious but ‘undecided’ Republicans, pleading and pressuring one after another to vote for the agreement.”

But on Thursday, the day after the vote, I received a telephone call from a talk radio host in Congressman Taylor’s district. He told me he had asked Mr. Taylor that morning why he didn’t vote against CAFTA as he had pledged. The talk radio host told me “Taylor said he had voted ‘no’…but somebody changed it and Mr. Taylor was furious.” “‘I voted NO,’ Mr. Taylor announced in a terse statement on Thursday, saying the House clerk’s written log showed his vote….”

If they’re going to this sort of trouble and playing games with the voting record to make sure something is rammed through the House and Senate, you know it’s heap bad news.

UPDATE – Congressman Taylor’s statement: “I voted NO on the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) in the vote last night. I informed the Majority Leader and the Appropriations Chairman I was voting no, as I had informed my constituents I was voting no. Rep. Howard Coble and I voted “no” together. Due to an error, my “no” vote did not record on the voting machine. The Clerk’s computer logs verified that I had attempted to vote, but it did not show my “nay” vote. I am re-inserting my “No” vote in the record. But even with my NO vote re-inserted, the bill still passed.”

Of course it did, Chuckie. Of course it did….