Glenn Beck’s emails

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.