Noted for Your Nighttime Procrastination for May 15, 2015

Must-Read: Paul Krugman: When Maestros Cry: "Via Mark Thoma, today in liberal fascism: Apparently I’m part of the liberal speech police...

...blocking debate on important subjects, because I criticized Alan Greenspan for planning to headline a goldbug conference taking place next to the Fed’s annual Jackson Hole event. And it’s true--I... call[ed] attention to Greenspan’s record of bad predictions. I even used sarcasm and ridicule. And you know who else used sarcasm and ridicule? Hitler The Piranha Brothers. It’s still quite amazing... how thin-skinned... outraged cries of ill-treatment when faced with any kind of pushback.. [and] look silly.... This article [gives] confirmation of just how bad this particular group is on economic substance.... The author of the article declares Greenspan obviously correct to issue dire warnings about Fed policies--after all, the dollar’s value was dropping in terms of gold.... But the Fed doesn’t care about the price of gold, and its indifference has been justified by history. Gold has been anything but a stable store of value.... Nor has gold been a predictor of future inflation.... Greenspan was planning to talk to a bunch of monetary cranks with a sideline in anti-gay activism (or maybe it’s the other way around).... [This] is, of course, his right; to criticize him... is mine.

Seth Lipsky: The Liberal Speech Cops Target Alan Greenspan: "To the list of questions the left has sought to place off limits to open debate... warming, same-sex marriage, campaign finance, abortion—add a startling new topic: monetary reform. And what a scalp has just been claimed. Alan Greenspan... has pulled out of a conference this summer on monetary reform.... Mr. Greenspan had been billed as one of the speakers for a counter-conference that is set to take place in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in late August.... The American Principles Project confirmed to me that he did so in the wake of Mr. Krugman’s attack. The conferees plan to continue nonetheless, and just as Congress itself is fermenting on the need to reform the way monetary policy is made. And so the mightiest central bank in the world will be in one conference center, while its critics will gather in another venue down the street. The proceedings of the reformers will be open to the public: a classic teaching moment.

Yet it horrifies Mr. Krugman, who reacted by attacking Mr. Greenspan personally. He derided the former Fed chairman for worrying about inflation, for generally trusting markets, and for voicing opinions on the central bank he once led. Mr. Krugman also attacked the American Principles Project, whose chairman is a conservative Catholic, Sean Fieler. “The group,” he writes, “combines social conservatism—it’s anti-gay-marriage, anti-abortion rights, and pro-‘religious liberty’—with goldbug economic doctrine.” Adds Mr. Krugman: “The second half of this agenda may be appealing to Greenspan, a former Ayn Rand intimate—as Paul Samuelson remarked, ‘You can take the boy out of the cult but you can’t take the cult out of the boy.’ But the anti-gay stuff? And helping these people attack his former colleagues?”

“These people”? The American Principles Project was founded by Robert P. George, a distinguished professor at Princeton... vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and a former member of the Civil Rights Commission.... Where does the Times come off issuing a post referring to one of his institutions as “these people” and not only attacking it for being “pro-‘religious liberty’”, but putting that phrase in scare quotes? The fact is that Mr. Krugman, who has devoted his column inches to plumping for inflation, is scared of critics who comprehend that there is a moral dimension to the question of money.

The Nobel laureate must have been horrified in September 2010 when, as the value of the dollar was first plunging below a 1,250th of an ounce of gold, Mr. Greenspan warned at the Council on Foreign Relations that “fiat money has no place to go but gold.”... Krugman likes to fault Mr. Greenspan first for failing to foresee the housing bubble and then for worrying about inflation. He contents himself with the quiescence of the consumer-price index while ignoring asset inflation. Mr. Krugman has emerged as an apologist for the Fed and for Mr. Greenspan’s successor, Ben Bernanke, on whose watch the value of the dollar plunged a staggering 53.1% against gold.... Is there a link between high unemployment and fiat money?...

A year ago Paul Volcker.... “By now,” he said, “I think we can agree that the absence of an official, rules-based, cooperatively managed monetary system has not been a great success.”... Maybe Mr. Volcker will get invited to join the American Principles Project event in Jackson Hole. One thing we learned about him in the 1980s, when even some of the supply-siders were screaming about his attack on inflation, is that he knows how to stand his ground. He would not be scared off by the likes of Paul Krugman.