Editor’s Note: Since I wrote this post, Mr. Beck has gone…how shall I put it? Insane? I still think these emails were interesting reading, but I want to be completely clear that he has now (March 2009) transformed and I completely disagree with most (if not all) of his views.
Glenn Beck is a conservative commentator on CNN who differs from other commentators who call themselves conservatives but really mean “party hacks.” I don’t agree with him all the time, but his economic views usually mirror my own…
…which is why I found these emails unnerving. He sent some letters to his family that ended up on the internet with his take on the current economic crisis. It came in three parts: “(1) how did we get here; (2) what’s coming; and (3) what can I do to prepare myself and my family.”
The emails, if nothing else, make for some thought-provoking reading. An unnamed business leader told him a 15%-20% reduction in GDP was possible:
A 15%-20% reduction of GDP would be like wiping out between $2.1 to $2.8 trillion dollars from our $14 trillion GDP. To show you how big that number really is, consider that in one year we spend about $583 billion to run the entire Defense Department, $43 billion to fund the entire Department of Homeland Security and have spent less than a trillion dollars fighting in Iraq
since that war began.
By way of comparison, in the Great Depression, our national GDP fell 29% over a four year period (1929-1933) and in that period we saw 7000 banks fail, a 25% unemployment rate and a Dow Jones industrial Average suffer an 80% decline. And that was when the pain of a shrinking GDP
was spread over 4 years!
His take on what to do (in the third email) gets a little apocalyptic for my taste, but his first two emails are interesting reading. Here’s the link to the emails again.