Fools and Their Money: Brian Wesbury Edition

It’s my favorite time of the year. The Lakeland Chamber on Thursday will host its 23rd annual Economic Forecast Breakfast, in which our city’s luminaries cough up $25 a head to hear macroeconomic predictions from this guy:

Back by popular demand, Brian Wesbury will offer his perspective on the national economy. Mr. Wesbury is one of America’s prominent economists and economic forecasters.

Aftermath at Denny'sIf that description is true, it explains quite a bit about what’s happened to the country in the last couple of years. You may or not remember Mr. Wesbury. So let me remind you. During 2008’s breakfast, he predicted the Dow would reach 16,000 by the end of 2008.

I found that curious. So I went on to write in a blog post at the time:

Because I am an optimist by nature, I also predict the Dow will rise. But I think 13,000 is a more likely number. As a good free market conservative, I’m sure that Wesbury believes in accountability. So I suggest we play a little closest to the pin and propose a non-monetary wager on the outcome. The Chamber seems to invite Wesbury to its event every year, so I expect he’ll be back next year. If Wesbury wins, and the Dow ends 2008 closer to 16,000 than 13,000, I will attend on my own dime and subject myself to public ridicule. If I win, I propose that Wesbury invite me to the stage to give the economic forecast for 2009.

I won the bet, of course. But it was Pyrrhic victory. The economy crashed, I didn’t get to give the forecast, and the chamber is once again – by popular demand? – inviting this charlatan to speak his nonsense. I will not be attending. Under no circumstances will any event associated with Wesbury ever get $25 out of me.

I’ll tell you in advance what he’s going to say: Bankers getting bad rap…yadayayda…stop massive spending….yadayada….health care awful….pro-growth policies….yaydaya….pay no attention Bush’s unfunded Medicare part D, two unfunded wars, unfunded tax cuts….Obamasocialist …. yadayada … inflation… yaydad…gold…yayadad…everything’s awful, but somehow the market will rally to 14,000 in spite of the Democrats, so invest, invest, invest….yadayayda.

If he takes questions, though, I’m begging somebody to man up and ask if “one of America’s prominent economists and economic forecasters” really thought the Dow was going to 16,000 in 2008. If so, why should anybody in this audience listen to single incompetent word he has to say? If not, what does the willingness to engage in that level of contempt for his paying audience – and then come back to face them — say about his personal and professional lack of shame.

My money’s on contempt, by the way. I don’t for a second believe Wesbury actually thought the Dow would get to 16,000. Consider that if you’re going. That’s how little respect he has for you as investors and people. Caveat emptor.

Creative Commons License photo credit: Glutnix

8 thoughts on “Fools and Their Money: Brian Wesbury Edition

  1. I attended the event and was disappointed with Wesbury’s lack of data and support for his “optimism”. He predicted a V-shaped or even a check mark-shaped, vigorous recovery, but was not convincing. In fact, some of his later graphs and charts worked against his predictions. During the presentation I concluded that he is a salesman peddling stocks that tells a few cute one-liners. No wonder he’s supposedly popular on TV programs.

  2. I attended the event and was disappointed with Wesbury’s lack of data and support for his “optimism”. He predicted a V-shaped or even a check mark-shaped, vigorous recovery, but was not convincing. In fact, some of his later graphs and charts worked against his predictions. During the presentation I concluded that he is a salesman peddling stocks that tells a few cute one-liners. No wonder he’s supposedly popular on TV programs.

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