Felix Salmon has a great piece about an interview Larry Summers’ possible replacement Laura Tyson and conservawhore Glenn Hubbard.
But the bit we were all waiting for was for Chrystia to ask Tyson and Hubbard about Inside Job, the film where they both come off very badly. The film’s director, Charles Ferguson, contributed a pointed blog entry to Reuters about the two of them, saying that they “exemplify the disturbing, opaque conflicts of interest that pervade the economics discipline”. Certainly it’s odd that the two economists, whose entire profession is based upon the premise that incentives matter, should be so resistant to the idea that the millions of dollars they’ve earned from the financial-services industry might in any way color their actions or beliefs.[…..]
Ferguson knew how Tyson would respond: “she has confined her remarks on the financial crisis to extremely vague statements about ‘greed,’ ‘human nature,’ etc.” he writes, and that’s exactly what she did, taking advantage of the way that Chrystia phrased the question to answer a theoretical question rather than a personal one.
Tyson makes 350K a year for turning up to a few Morgan-Stanley board meetings each year. That’s nothing like the millions Summers was paid by hedge funds, but it’s a nice chunk of change for doing squat.
As I see it, elite public sector economists are bribed by bankstas via board of directorships and the like. Political figures are often bribed via speaking fees:
Buried in its profile of Ann Coulter, the Times reports that she makes 90% of her income on paid speeches, and recently charged $25,000 to speak at the Wake County Republican Women’s Club in Raleigh.
Those hefty figures are a glimpse at what is, in some ways, the real economy of politics. Most of the people you see talking on television or quoted in stories — who aren’t in elected office — make substantial parts of their livings giving speeches to private groups. Paid speaking, cleaner than lobbying, easier than the practice of law, cleaner than hitting up pension funds, well, safer than graft, has become the primary source of income for a broad range of political figures, beginning with Bill Clinton, who reported $7.5 million from paid speech in 2009.
The high fees for speakers like Clinton, Sarah Palin, and Stanley McChrystal occasionally draw attention, but beneath them are tiers and tiers more, with Harold Ford and Michael Steele, for instance, charging $40,000 for a package deal.
I’ll let you make up your own jokes about “package deals”, but 40K for a
single speech from Michael Steele?