by Paul Craig Roberts
March 24, 2010
Paul Craig Roberts was an editor
of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.
His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS
LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press.
He can be reached at: PaulCraigRoberts@yahoo.com
There was a time when the pen was mightier than the sword.
That was a time
when people believed in truth and regarded truth as an independent power and
not as an auxiliary for government, class, race, ideological, personal, or
Today Americans are ruled by propaganda.
Americans have little regard for
truth, little access to it, and little ability to recognize it.
Truth is an unwelcome entity. It is
disturbing. It is off limits. Those who speak it run the risk of
being branded “anti-American,” “anti-semite” or “conspiracy
Truth is an inconvenience for government
and for the interest groups whose campaign contributions control
Truth is an inconvenience for
prosecutors who want convictions, not the discovery of innocence or
Truth is inconvenient for ideologues.
Today many whose goal once was the discovery of
truth are now paid handsomely to hide it.
“Free market economists” are paid to sell
off-shoring to the American people. High-productivity, high value-added
American jobs are denigrated as dirty, old industrial jobs. Relicts from
long ago, we are best shed of them. Their place has been taken by “the New
Economy,” a mythical economy that allegedly consists of high-tech white
collar jobs in which Americans innovate and finance activities that occur
All Americans need in order to participate in
this “new economy” are finance degrees from Ivy League universities, and
then they will work on Wall Street at million dollar jobs.
Economists who were once respectable took money to contribute to this myth
of “the New Economy.”
And not only economists sell their souls for filthy lucre. Recently we have
had reports of medical doctors who, for money, have published in
peer-reviewed journals concocted “studies” that hype this or that new
medicine produced by
pharmaceutical companies that paid for the “studies.”
The Council of Europe is investigating the drug companies’ role in hyping a
false swine flu pandemic in order to gain billions of dollars in sales of
The media helped the US military hype its recent Marja offensive in
Afghanistan, describing Marja as a city of 80,000 under Taliban control. It
turns out that Marja is not urban but a collection of village farms.
And there is the
global warming scandal, in which NGOs. the UN, and the
nuclear industry colluded in concocting a doomsday scenario in order to
create profit in pollution.
Wherever one looks, truth has fallen to money.
Wherever money is insufficient to bury the truth, ignorance, propaganda, and
short memories finish the job.
I remember when, following CIA director William Colby’s testimony before the
Church Committee in the mid-1970s, presidents Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan
issued executive orders preventing the CIA and U.S. black-op groups from
assassinating foreign leaders.
In 2010 the US Congress was told by Dennis
Blair, head of national intelligence, that the US now assassinates its
own citizens in addition to foreign leaders.
When Blair told the House Intelligence Committee that US citizens no longer
needed to be arrested, charged, tried, and convicted of a capital crime,
just murdered on suspicion alone of being a “threat,” he wasn’t impeached.
No investigation pursued. Nothing happened. There was no
Church Committee. In the mid-1970s the
CIA got into trouble for plots to kill Castro.
Today it is American citizens
who are on the hit list. Whatever objections there might be don’t carry any
weight. No one in government is in any trouble over the assassination of
U.S. citizens by the U.S. government.
As an economist, I am astonished that the American economics profession has
no awareness whatsoever that the U.S. economy has been destroyed by the
offshoring of U.S. GDP to overseas countries. U.S. corporations, in pursuit
of absolute advantage or lowest labor costs and maximum CEO “performance
bonuses,” have moved the production of goods and services marketed to
Americans to China, India, and elsewhere abroad.
When I read economists describe offshoring as
free trade based on comparative advantage, I realize that there is no
intelligence or integrity in the American economics profession.
Intelligence and integrity have been purchased by money. The transnational
or global U.S. corporations pay multi-million dollar compensation packages
to top managers, who achieve these “performance awards” by replacing U.S.
labor with foreign labor. While Washington worries about “the Muslim
threat,” Wall Street, U.S. corporations and “free market” shills destroy the
U.S. economy and the prospects of tens of millions of Americans.
Americans, or most of them, have proved to be putty in the hands of the
Americans have bought into the government’s claim that security requires the
suspension of civil liberties and accountable government. Astonishingly,
Americans, or most of them, believe that civil liberties, such as habeas
corpus and due process, protect “terrorists,” and not themselves. Many also
believe that the Constitution is a tired old document that prevents
government from exercising the kind of police state powers necessary to keep
Americans safe and free.
Most Americans are unlikely to hear from anyone who would tell them any
I was associate editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal. I was
Business Week’s first outside columnist, a position I held for 15 years. I
was columnist for a decade for Scripps Howard News Service, carried in 300
newspapers. I was a columnist for the Washington Times and for newspapers in
France and Italy and for a magazine in Germany. I was a contributor to the
New York Times and a regular feature in the Los Angeles Times.
Today I cannot publish in, or appear on, the
For the last six years I have been banned from the “mainstream media.” My
last column in the New York Times appeared in January, 2004, coauthored with
Democratic U.S. Senator Charles Schumer representing New York. We
addressed the offshoring of U.S. jobs. Our op-ed article produced a
conference at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. and live
coverage by C-Span. A debate was launched. No such thing could happen today.
For years I was a mainstay at the Washington Times, producing credibility
for the Moony newspaper as a Business Week columnist, former Wall Street
Journal editor, and former Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury. But
when I began criticizing Bush’s wars of aggression, the order came down to
Mary Lou Forbes to cancel my column.
The American corporate media does not serve the truth. It serves the
government and the interest groups that empower the government.
America’s fate was sealed when the public and the anti-war movement
bought the government’s 9/11 conspiracy theory. The
government’s account of 9/11 is contradicted by much evidence.
Nevertheless, this defining event of our time, which has launched the US on
interminable wars of aggression and a domestic police state, is a taboo
topic for investigation in the media.
It is pointless to complain of war and
state when one accepts the premise upon which they are based.
These trillion dollar wars have created financing problems for Washington’s
deficits and threaten the U.S. dollar’s role as world reserve currency. The
wars and the pressure that the budget deficits put on the dollar’s value
have put Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block.
Sachs chairman and U.S. Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson is after
these protections for the elderly.
chairman Bernanke is also after them. The Republicans are after them
as well. These protections are called “entitlements” as if they are some
sort of welfare that people have not paid for in payroll taxes all their
With over 21 per cent unemployment as measured by the methodology of 1980,
with American jobs, GDP, and technology having been given to China and
India, with war being Washington’s greatest commitment, with the dollar
over-burdened with debt, with civil liberty sacrificed to the “war
on terror,” the liberty and prosperity of the American people
have been thrown into the trash bin of history.
The militarism of the U.S. and
Israeli states, and Wall Street and corporate
greed, will now run their course.
As the pen is censored and its might
extinguished, I am signing off.