Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Of Francis Scott Fitzgerald and the Abundance of Second Acts in America

Earlier tonight I spent some time looking for e-books on Amazon, and I came across this forgotten gem: Dow 36,000: The New Strategy for Profiting From the Coming Rise in the Stock Market. [Insert your own joke here]

What is truly remarkable is what became of the two co-authors of this book.

Here is Kevin A. Hassett's biography, posted on the website of the American Enterprise Institute, where Hassett is Senior Fellow and Director of Economic Policy Studies.
Before joining AEI, Mr. Hassett was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and an associate professor of economics and finance at the Graduate School of Business of Columbia University, as well as a policy consultant to the Treasury Department during the George H. W. Bush and Clinton administrations. He served as an economic adviser to the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign and as Senator John McCain's chief economic adviser during the 2000 presidential primaries. He also served as a senior economic adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign. Mr. Hassett writes a weekly column for Bloomberg.

James K. Glassman's biography, from Wikipedia, is not nearly as impressive as his co-author's. However, he can boast a couple of feathers in his cap, too:
On December 11, 2007 Glassman was nominated by President George W. Bush to replace Karen Hughes as the Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. [...] Earlier he founded The American, the magazine of ideas for business leaders, published by the American Enterprise Institute, and was its editor-in-chief and from 2005 to 2007. [...] On September 3, 2009, it was announced that Glassman will head the George W. Bush Institute, a public policy institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

So, to recap: in 1999, Hassett and Glassman have co-authored a book that can only be described as the most colossal failure of intelligence in the field of economic predictions. Both co-authors have associations with the American Enterprise Institute. And, most importantly, both have served the most dimwitted president in the history of the nation, though in different capacities, years AFTER they had published their colossal dump of bullshit.

Francis Scott Fitzgerald was wrong. Second acts, even wholly unwarranted ones, are as American as apple-pie. Not even colossal failure is enough in America to be consigned to shamefully earned oblivion, as the case of Hassett and Glassman proves. And it is exquisitely fitting that they received their second chances from a man, President W., who received more than his fair share of undeserved second chances himself. Which goes to prove that no incompetent deed will go unrewarded, as long as you are on the side of free market rhetoric and of the imaginary rewards of supply-side economics.

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