Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gary Becker -- The Economist's Economist

A professor at the University of Chicago for more than 30 years, Gary Becker is a founder of the Chicago school of economics. A winner of the John Bates Clark Medal and of the Nobel Prize in Economics, he is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.

The U.S. economy grew robustly from 1983 to 2008. And then everything collapsed. What happened? Gary Becker apportions blame and grades the Bush administration's response to the financial crisis: "He [Bush] wouldn't get an A. But I wouldn't give him a C either." Becker also rates the initial and continuing response of the U.S. Federal Reserve to the crisis. Finally, when confronted with the dilemma of how to create economic policy amid conflicting opinions by expert economists, he puts his faith in the people: "What I trust with the American people is that they have always had a lot of common sense. ... And I think most Americans believe, and I think they are correct in that belief, that the private sector has shown that it performs better overall, not 100 percent, but...a lot better overall than the public sector does."

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