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Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Financial fringes

Tonight's New York Historical Society event on "The Global Financial Crisis," with Paul Volcker and David Walker was marred by Volcker's mumbling, exacerbated by poor audio. But it had some interesting moments, as when in reply to a rambling and repeated question about whether Ron Paul's "radical solutions" such as a gold standard would be useful, Volcker said only "The short answer is no." That meant there was time for one more question, which came from a Lyndon LaRouchite babbling about "phony money" and "global Glass Steagall," to which moderator Andrew Ross Sorkin said "I don't know where to go with that." That meant there was time for one more question, but since it was something sane, no one can remember what it was.

Had I been given the mike, I'd have asked "Who has better solutions for America: Ron Paul or Lyndon LaRouche? I can't decide."

James Pethokoukis is displeased by Volcker's amenability to a VAT and an energy tax. He sees that as reflecting a new "Washington consensus" that America's undertaxed. I think the big fight will be over whether such new taxes are combined with getting rid of various existing taxes.

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