Check it out

TIME does a good thing and checks out some of Herman Cain’s past predictions (via). I knew Cain hosted a radio show, but I didn’t know that he was also a syndicated columnist. I guess that’s another way that he padded his bank account.

Apparently, Cain was against a national sales tax before he included such a provision in his fabled 9-9-9 plan. This is pretty damning, too:

The recession officially began in December 2007, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research. But in a Jan. 21, 2008, column entitled, “Recession? Spare us the National Economic Pity Party,” Cain compared fear of a downturn to a Hollywood script, and stated there was only an “economic correction, not an economic recession.” The damage would be minimal, Cain predicted, and would help downsize “overbuilt” portions of the economy while only “some consumers who have spent too much” would feel the pain.

He took a similar tack in a March 3, 2008, piece. “The media’s factually unsubstantiated claims of an impending recession have been going on for over a year now,” he wrote. “Many news journalists hurt people’s outlook about the economy with inappropriate comparisons and sensationalism.”

In April 2008, Cain admitted that the economy was skidding, but only, he argued, because Democrats and the mainstream media had spooked everybody with its negativity. “This writer believes that a major portion of the job losses are due to media pessimism, and employers who have swallowed the negative outlook and have hesitated to fill existing jobs or new positions” Cain wrote on April 7.

By summer, Cain was claiming that the looming financial crisis was a similar media fabrication.

In a July 21, 2008, column, Cain referred to Wall Street’s troubles as “the mainstream media’s it’s-not-a-crisis-but-we-are-going-to-make-it-look-like-one banking crisis”. In less than two months, Lehman Brothers would declare Bankruptcy and, a few weeks later, Congress would pass a massive bailout to rescue the nation’s largest banks.

Yup. Doesn’t look too good. Imagine, though, just as a thought experiment, what if TIME or another organization actually did this with lots of people? What if they did this for David Brooks? Or Tom Friedman? Wouldn’t that be great? It’ll happen when the cow jumps over the moon, but it’d be cool. Dean Baker, for one, is good about this stuff. I always appreciate that he accompanies James Glassman’s name with the title “co-author of Dow 36,000.” Because that’s relevant information. People should know that Glassman wrote one of the most wrong books ever when they read anything Glassman writes.
I never know how to react to pieces like this. I’m torn between happiness that one of our press organs hauled itself of its ass and actually did some real reporting and fury that they don’t do this for all major politicians and pundits, given that fact-checking and reporting is supposed to be their job, not a whimsical hobby in between reports on Michael Jackson’s doctor.

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