GLENN: 888-727-BECK, 888-727-BECK. In the free e-mail newsletter, today Newt Gingrich is writing a piece for us on Obama and what is coming. Yesterday I think it was Jonah Goldberg and tomorrow it is Stephen Moore from the Wall Street Journal, one of the head economic editorial writers of the Wall Street Journal. I think -- are you the head guy there? Are you the big cheese, Steve?
MOORE: No, I'm not the big cheese. I'm just a little minor cog in the entire operation but it's a great place to work.
GLENN: Steve is a good friend of the program, a good friend of mine and one of the brighter, more honest economic people that you could ever listen to.
MOORE: By the way, Glenn, I have to say these days I'm almost embarrassed to call myself an economist because of all the quacky things that economists are saying these days.
GLENN: It's absolutely amazing to me, Steve. It is -- they are less accurate than the weather forecasters.
MOORE: And that's hard to -- but, you know, I mean, where in the world, where in the world did this idea come from that if you spend a trillion dollars by the government that that actually stimulates the economy? I've never seen that happen ever in history and, you know, it's almost like the more the government spends, the more jobs we create.
GLENN: But you know who would have more credibility, Steve? I mean, you know who does have more credibility? People like you that said, you know, okay, I don't think this might happen, or I don't think this might happen. But then when it does happen, you go, you know what? It did happen. So now I have to adjust and say, "Okay, then let's not do this." All of these economists, you are one of the few that I know that said, A, these kinds of things could be a possibility if A, B and C happen. And so you at least allowed for the possibility. And then when they did happen you said, "Okay, wait a minute action wait a minute, let's change our thinking here." Everybody else said it could never happen. Then, "My gosh, it's happening! Listen to me! This way out!" And when they're wrong yet again, they still say, "That was the wrong course. Listen to me. I have the answer." They haven't had the answer right yet.
MOORE: I mean, I think all the economists, it's almost as if the higher the credentials of these economists from, you know, Harvard and Yale and Stanford, the worse their economic thinking is. I mean, really I don't know, Glenn, where this idea came from that magically if the government spends money, it's a stimulus. It's almost as if they believe the money just appears out of nowhere and it's just stimulated into the economy but, you know, as my hero Milton freed man taught me, there ain't no such thing as a free lunch. If the government spends a dollar, it has to come from somewhere, has to come from somebody.
GLENN: Ben Steyn, and I love Ben Steyn and I know you do, too. Ben Steyn said to me on TV two days ago, he said, please, Glenn, the government can print money without any repercussions for about two years.
GLENN: Do you believe that?
MOORE: I think they can do it for about maybe six months to a year. The only thing I disagree with them on, on how long it takes. And, you know, you and I talked about this a couple of weeks ago. This is something that every American should be paying attention to and almost no one is. The printing presses at the treasury department, those are going 24/7. They are printing money at such a fast pace that they are literally running out of ink over there and this is the biggest infusion of money creation in the history of America, and I've got -- you know, my basic economic training tells me if you print that amount of money, it's got to cause inflation. And I don't know when that inflation is coming, whether it's going to be six months or a year or two, but, folks, it is coming.
GLENN: Stephen, here, help me out on this puzzle because there's no economist that will actually go down this road with me. So please, will you just go down this road and show me where I'm wrong, okay?
MOORE: Okay. By the way, I have new respect for you as an economist because you called this crisis that we're in before anybody did.
GLENN: But you know what, Stephen? That's because I'm just dumb enough to not know all the rules. I just look at it with common sense.
MOORE: That's right.
GLENN: Okay, so help me out on this.
GLENN: Okay? We're in a deflationary period now.
GLENN: What this means, let me just, in common people terms because that's the way I understand it. I'm walking down the street. I see everybody saying they're having 75% off.
GLENN: But I don't go in to buy because I'm a little nervous about what's going to happen to my job, et cetera, et cetera. So then the next week I see 80% off and I'm like, wow, 80% off. But I'm still a little nervous. Then I see 85% off. They're slashing the prices until I finally say, "Well, this is great." But there comes a point to where I say, "Well, wait a minute. If it was 75%, then 80, I might wait until it's 90% because they're getting desperate." And so I don't spend my money necessarily when I can. I spend it when I think they're at the bottom. And that causes the prices just to continue to go down.
GLENN: The reason why, let's just use -- what's a store? Circuit City, let's just say because they are out of business.
GLENN: Let's just say Circuit City is doing it because they are healthy, they are not thinking they are going out of business. What they are doing is they are thinking, "I've got to get rid of all of this inventory. I don't want all this inventory there." So they are just dumping all of their inventory out at the lowest possible price. If you take all this money out that you are printing to be loaned and everything else, you've got massive deflation going, you have empty store rooms now with not a lot of product, and you have manufacturing, steel and everything else, closing their doors or taking hiatus or not making so much product. Once that money starts rushing into the system, do you not then have the classic example of too few goods chasing -- being chased by too many dollars? Don't you automatically go from massive deflation to rapid inflation?
MOORE: Yeah, you do. You get an A in economics today because this is what's happening. You summarized it very well. Right now we are in a deflationary period. That's what happens when stores are cutting their prices and that's because they have to clear this inventory. And you are also right that one of the paradoxes of this economy is that as people, as businesses are slashing their prices, people like you and me who are consumers say, "Hmmm, maybe if we wait another couple of weeks, they will slash even more." And so by the way, this is the problem with the housing crisis right now, Glenn, is that, you know, I can speak from firsthand. My wife and I have been in the market to buy a house for about a year but we keep waiting, prices are continuing to fall.
GLENN: Exactly right.
MOORE: Here's where you are exactly right. Because we're printing all this money, right now all these trillions of dollars are being put into the economy but everybody is just sitting on them. It's almost as if collectively Americans are almost literally sticking the dollars underneath their mattress because they are afraid to spend. But what's going to happen is as soon as the economy starts to come out of this, then people start spending again. The velocity of this money is going to start to circulate and you are going to have not hyperinflation like we had in the Seventies but you are going to see inflation back in the 6, 7, 8% range. Prices are going to be rising again.
GLENN: You are kidding yourself.
MOORE: And that will hurt the economy a lot.
GLENN: You are kidding yourself if you are thinking 6% inflation. You are kidding yourself.
MOORE: You may be right.
GLENN: Okay. So --
MOORE: You know, I'm the optimist in this relationship.
GLENN: I know you are, I know you are but you're crazy town.
MOORE: What the market is signaling right now is about 6 -- you know, there's ways of measuring expectations of inflation. And what the market is expecting is about 6 or 7% inflation. But you might be right. We could be in double digits and that's going to be painful because a lot of people like you and I remember what it was like, you know, in the late Seventies when you had, you know, 14, 15% inflation. And that was terrible.
GLENN: Then let me take you to the next step of, let's just say 10% inflation and how you control that. And can you just hang for me a second?
MOORE: Of course, yeah.
GLENN: And just show me where I'm wrong, Stephen, and then I want to talk about what we have in the newsletter today because you've tracked what Obama is saying he's going to do and then what that actually means, and we'll do that next.
GLENN: 888-727-BECK, 888-727-BECK. Okay, Stephen, two scenarios. You tell me where I'm wrong or give me hope here, okay?
MOORE: I'm here.
GLENN: Deflation -- Stephen Moore, by the way, lead editorial writer for the Wall Street Journal on the economy and general all-around smart guy. Deflation, let's say deflation -- let's say we don't come out of it right away and deflation just keeps going down and down and down. Do you see our government, do you see the people that we are putting in charge now as people that would repeat what we did in the Great Depression and say price controls?
MOORE: I think they do. I mean, remember what happened in the Great Depression is we had the New Deal which was just a massive expansion of government spending for almost a decade where we doubled the size of government in our economy and it didn't work. This is one of the great myths of modern sometimes is that the New Deal was a success. But by 1940, Glenn.
GLENN: We knew.
MOORE: Ten years after the new deal had started, the unemployment rate in the United States was 15%.
GLENN: But we have the rest of the world -- if we put price controls on --
GLENN: And we start going in, because there will be calls. You watch, there will be people who will say, we're losing jobs in America; we've got to protect jobs. And there will be, at some point the politicians will have to say, we've got to protect these jobs. You go price controls and protectionism, then the whole thing spirals out.
MOORE: That's right.
MOORE: Right, that's what happened in the 1970s.
GLENN: The next thing is let's just say that inflation, deflation goes and what we talked about earlier. Then it spikes up and it goes into inflation because the engine starts moving again. To curb inflation, it is my understanding, you have to take the interest rates and the Fed needs to turn the valve the other way.
GLENN: And do the opposite of what we're doing now.
GLENN: And you need to do an equal number of turns on that valve.
MOORE: That's right.
GLENN: In the other direction.
GLENN: So America, think about what we've done to our money supply system.
GLENN: We're going to have to do an equal amount in the other direction.
GLENN: To be able to get inflation back under control. How do you, how do you think this works out when you have the Fed and all of the people that have caused this problem and also all of the people who we don't trust now because they don't have any solutions to turn that valve and make a manmade liquidity problem as people that would hurt companies, investments, that would hurt people hiring, et cetera, et cetera, and the people who are running it are no longer the market because we have national banks and everything else, it's no longer the market deciding but the government. How do you see that ending, Stephen?
MOORE: Not very well. That's why I wrote the book The End of Prosperity because I don't think that those policies are going to lead to anything but a severe recession, which we're in right now. You know, by the way, Glenn, I don't know if you saw what happened this week in Britain, but Britain has essentially nationalized its banking system.
GLENN: I think that's what --
MOORE: This is a scary thing, folks, because the reason that the financial stocks have gone down so much, they plunged yesterday, investors around the country are worried that we're going to nationalize our banks.
GLENN: We're going to. You know it and I know it.
MOORE: I know. It's a scary thing. But here's the point. I want to make this very clear. What everything the government is doing right now is exactly the wrong thing. It's exactly the wrong thing. I really believe, Glenn, if the government would just stop doing anything, if congress would just stop passing laws, no new bailouts, no new stimulus plan, no more debt, no more money creation, I believe within nine months or so we could get out of this, the weak would die, the strong would survive, the process, but then we would go back to growth. But they are not going to let that happen, Glenn.
GLENN: No, they can't.
MOORE: They are going to spend money, they are going to print money, they are going to do $2 trillion of debt in this single year. I mean, again --
GLENN: Do you remember, Stephen, do you remember six months ago you said to me, "You watch, Glenn, they're going to -- it will be a trillion dollars of debt."
MOORE: I was wrong.
GLENN: We're now looking at $2 trillion.
MOORE: It's $2 trillion.
MOORE: I mean, we're going to borrow -- hang onto your socks, folks. We're going to borrow more money in 2009 than we did collectively for our first 200 years as a nation.
GLENN: Okay. And that's amazing because that includes the -- does that include the Reagan?
MOORE: No, that's to 1976 but that includes World War II, World War I, the Civil War, the Revolutionary War.
MOORE: All the debt for 200 years doesn't amount to as much as we're going to borrow in one single year this year.
GLENN: Okay, The End of Prosperity by Stephen Moore. Quickly, Stephen, because now I'm running out of time. I want to ask you, the newsletter, give me the big thing out of the newsletter. Give me the top thing that you think Obama has promised to do and what it means.
MOORE: Well, we've got the trillion dollar, quote, stimulus bill which I call a destimulus which will increase the debt by another trillion dollars. Then we're going to have the union card check issue which gets away from the secret ballot and union. Then we're going to have --
GLENN: Do you believe that actually --
GLENN: Do you believe that actually passes, the card check? Do you believe that actually goes through?
MOORE: As I said in your newsletter I think it's 50/50 right now because you know why, Glenn? The Democrats who run every lever of power right now in Washington, they are totally beholden to the unions. If the unions spent $400 million to get these people elected, they want payback.
GLENN: What does that mean to business?
MOORE: To business?
MOORE: Oh, it means every small business is going to be under assault from union organizers who are going to come in. And by the way, folks, if you have unions come in and force unions on businesses, you're going to have a lot of businesses go out of business and, folks, you can't have jobs without employers.
GLENN: The End of Prosperity by Stephen Moore and this article he's talking about was written for the newsletter. It's a free newsletter available today at GlennBeck.com. Stephen, talk to you again.