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Tuesday, April 13, 2004

New York Sun on a Soros "October Surprise" 

I don't usually read the New York Sun (nor do I know anyone who does: is this a function of my social isolation or the Sun's lack of readership? I suspect the latter).

Anyway, I noticed this headline on the front page of today's issue: "October Surprise from Soros?" I knew that Soros had been giving a lot of money to anti-Bush 527s, so I was curious. What kind of surprise might they be talking about?
When financier George Soros said last November he would give up his fortune if it would oust President Bush from office, the offhand remark sparked speculation about just how far the billionaire would go to achieve his goal.

Could Mr. Soros orchestrate a financial crisis to harm the president's reelection? It wouldn't be easy.

Such an October surprise might involve a speculative attack on the dollar or on American financial markets. Mr. Soros's hedge fund bet against the British pound in 1992 helped push that currency out of the European monetary system.

Mr. Soros could not be reached for comment. His spokesman, Michael Vachon, dismissed the notion as preposterous.
Yeah, no kidding! Does anyone take this idea seriously? According to the Sun's own reporting, no!
"It's silly talk," said a former director of international finance at the Federal Reserve Board, Ralph Bryant, of the speculation.

"This is conspiracy theory gone haywire," said Christian Weller, a senior economist at the Center for American Progress, a liberal Washington think tank that was funded in part by $3 million from Mr. Soros. "The economics of it just don't work."

An economist at the free-market Cato Institute described the theory through a spokesman as so "out there" as to be "not even worthy of comment."

Above all, economists stressed that a speculator targeting the dollar would face intractable pressure from numerous foreign governments who hold enormous dollar reserves and dollar denominated debt.
What a great way to generate grist for your front page: make up a preposterous claim, suggest that it's a rumor floating around (without directly saying that anyone else is talking about it), and then debunk your own creation.

Maybe I should start doing that.

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