The Fluff and Puff of Arianna Huffington

Econophile's picture

The article originally appeared on the Daily Capitalist.


Arianna Huffington just wrote an "important" op-ed, "Delevering in a Delevering World".

I know flummery when I see it:

On Monday, I was in Newport Beach to speak at the annual client conference of PIMCO, the world's largest bond investment company -- whose CEO Mohamed El-Erian is a frequent and very popular HuffPost blogger. More than 300 of PIMCO's clients gathered for a three-day retreat around the timely theme of "Delivering in a Delevering World."

After tossing out the names of her good friends El-Erian and Bill Gross (both of whom I have previously awarded our Crony Capitalist of the Month accolades), she launches into the dogma being tossed around in Krugmanite neo-Keynesian circles that capitalism needs to be "compassionate" and fiscal "austerity" is "keeping us from growing."

If this were a serious piece by her she wouldn't have to rely on the pejorative style of composition to make her point. But she does and as such it becomes Party-speak. Here are some of the value-laden words she uses to describe the "problem" of "excessive" government cost cutting:

  • "relentless emphasis on cutting"
  • "misguided approach to delevering"
  • "imprudent delevering"
  • "premature austerity"
  • "excessive delevering"
  • "we also need delivering from the obsolete dogmas of the past"
  • "dysfunctional political and economic systems of the present"
  • "capitalism without conscience"

I'll cut to the chase and tell you that her argument is that those governments (including the U.S.) which have gone broke by borrowing massive sums supported on a sea of fiat money to fund welfare programs for their favorite constituents, and which have run into a wall trying to roll over their crappy paper, need to borrow and spend even more because "imprudent", "excessive", and "misguided" attempts to cut spending will set back any recovery because only government spending can get us out of this mess.

This approach to fundamentalist Keynesian economics believes that somehow it is government that creates wealth in an economy and that without the benevolent hand of the government we would just sink back into the muck. Instead of understanding that the bond markets are trying to tell us something about these economies, their cure is more of the same thing that got these economies in trouble in the beginning.

But no, these attempts at fiscal sanity aren't "compassionate" and capitalism without government's oversight has no conscience and causes prolonged unemployment and misery. Actually what will cause prolonged unemployment and misery are the policies she favors. If long-term stagnation, inflation, high permanent unemployment, and high taxes are your goal, then she and her friends have the right formulary.

And then she has the gall to quote Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments as supporting her concept that capitalism lacks conscience.

I haven't read that work by Smith but I doubt Mrs. Huffington has either. I think she uses it as an intellectual embellishment to suit her argument and to give her an air of profundity. I did look up a paper on Theory of Moral Sentiments by Professor Jeffrey Hebener, ("An Integration of The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments") who describes the work this way:

... Smith discussed four ways in which capitalism "ennobles human nature." First, capitalism develops the impartial spectator (both internal and external). Second, it simultaneously develops self-command and humanity (the awful and amiable virtues). Third, Smith gives examples of how it develops virtue in man. Finally, capitalism develops a set of general rules of conduct that lead to moral activity.

Hebener concludes his study by saying:

When joined in this way, capitalism is the environment that prompts the prosperity of man's material and moral statures. Furthermore, this completes Smith's system. the Wealth of Nations contains his political ethics and Moral Sentiments constructs his views on personal ethics; integrating the two books reveals a real world environment for achieving his ethical goals.

In other words, Smith determined that capitalism, as he does properly define it, engenders moral virtue and material well-being. Mrs. Huffington suggests the opposite.

What can one expect from the publisher of the Huffington Post. She and some wealthy liberals founded it with big bucks to counter what they (amusingly) felt was the dominance of the "right wing media." They wished to make money too, so she turned a corner and sank into LCD (lowest common denominator) with articles on entertainment, celebrities and their divorces, nude photos, "business" (i.e., how the little guy is getting screwed), fashion, gay life, and things you would generally enjoy in a tabloid. She still does politics but the site is morbidly liberal.

She succeeded beyond anyone's wildest dreams (good luck, AOL). She took a successful formula from the British tabloids and applied it to the Web. I admire her success. Yes, she has a right to speak her mind on her site and to overtly promote herself and Huffpo.

But she's just parroting the liberal economic catechism that her claque are whispering in her ear; let not anyone think that her views on economics are anything but fluff and puff.

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Sandmann's picture

Arianna Stassinopoulos has always been a social climber - ever since her days in the Cambridge Union and affair with Bernard Levin. Anything to get herself noticed

Seorse Gorog from that Quantum Entanglement Fund. alright_.-'s picture

Hear ye, hear ye.


I hearby decree that from henceforth Arianna Huffington shall know be known as 'The Huff What's From That Puffington Host, Alright?'




Seorse Gorog From That Quantum Entanglement Fund, Alright?

~aka~ Skeletor, your local Master of the Zooniverse


[Editor's note: SGFTQEF,A?'s unparalleled wit and intellect knows no bounds, I mean, come on!... 'Puffington Host'. TD is PMSL.]

chirobliss's picture

I absolutely agree that Huffington with her trite moralisms and petri dish shallowness is better a denizen of the fairytale world of "I'll huff and I'll puff 'til I blow your house down". But when she states,

There's a reason Adam Smith's free-market gospel, The Wealth of Nations, was preceded by his Theory of Moral Sentiments. He understood that economic prosperity has to be built on a firm moral foundation.

Huffington is absolutely correct.

You confess to not having read Theory of Moral Sentiments, but your biases indicate that you have not read much of Wealth of Nations either and you would do well to read the original of both rather than deriving your knowledge from "articles about x on google". If you at all think that the capitalism envisaged by Smith bears any resemblance to the morass of criminal exploitation championed by the GOP, Ayn Rand libertarians, the Tea Party, Ron Paul or Michelle Bachman then your critical faculties are beyond redemption.

It is irony delicious beyond compare that you choose to open your critique of her demonstrable vacuity with the statement...

If this were a serious piece by her she wouldn't have to rely on the pejorative style of composition to make her point. But she does...

Then you immediately spout the following...

  • governments (including the U.S.) which have gone broke
  • a sea of fiat money
  • their crappy paper
  • fund welfare programs for their favorite constituents

Ha! Dog whistle much? Pot meet kettle.

Econophile's picture

I admit that I am using ridicule. She doesn't. That makes her's propaganda and mine commentary. I have read Wealth of Nations, thank you. Mrs. Huff gets it wrong. She assumed that Smith had to invent a morality that could ameliorate the "excesses" of capitalismbefore he wrote about capitalism. Smith did no such thing. He was expressing his views according to the concepts of Natural Law and believed that capitalism was indeed moral and virtuous.

chirobliss's picture

But alas you are not ridiculing Ariana with the words you use, you are using perjoratives against an economic policy you vehemently disagree with.

You were affronted that this loopy bint of the left would dare to summon Adam Smith in support of her team's argument.


Econophile's picture

No, I think that she's a phony intellectual who hasn't read the source that she cites and doesn't really understand the issue. But, yes, you are correct that I use pejoratives in a mocking, insensitive way.

newengland's picture

Huff Puff is a silly bint, a bit of skirt, promoted far beyond her hemline. Her history in England as a pet of the pseuds corner shows it so.

She is an 'educated fool'and 'useful idiot', as Lenin would say, but she does so enjoy grifting for her paymasters. 

Silly bint.

Dollar Bill Hiccup's picture

Continued fiscal spending means further and continued devaluation of the USD. One / They hope that a devaluation of the USD will eventually redress the current imbalances with other mercantilist currencies. The USD would devalue, other currencies revalue upwards, USD exports would be more competitive, imports more costly, hence a rebalancing of global imbalance, specifically the gross over consumption relative to production in the US.

The rub is that the cheap imports which are driven by US and other Multinationals sourcing the cheapest labor, are currently a subsidy to the working class which is experiencing downward adjustments in relative wages, higher unemployment, financial repression, all the consequence of Multinationals sourcing labor offshore in concert with excess leverage or Minsky Ponzi. The mechanisms that enhance Multinational balance sheets and P / L which are beneficial to the "consumer" are the very same that are destroying the middle class as a "producer". The "consumer" is now a debt function. The leverage in the the system is based on credit creation, cheap labor and communications technology. Deleveraging in two sectors (consumer, banks) requires reflation in another (US Government Debt). The debt is not gone. It has simply shifted its locus. And it is getting bigger.

The "system" is trying to balance out between cheap 3rd world labor and expensive US labor. US workers must normalize to 3rd world labor (via currency devaluation and value creation including productivity enhancements of technology. This rebalance remains more profitable to the oligarchy than the usual hijinks. Compare the Forbes billionaire list ten years ago to today. Billionaires out the wazoo now, across the globe. Meanwhile, Joe the Plumber is duking in out with Li Ho Fooks for a piece of the pie.


strannick's picture

'Compassionate capitalism' is where egghead academic progressives supply the 'compassionate' while taxpayers provide the 'capital'.

'Compassionate' is actually all the eggheads can supply, since they dont understand that capital is created by work and effort and that discernment and decision is required to choose the best option for limited resources. Thus their belief that money can be dropped from helicopters. Such is the halycon view from the ivory tower.

Their misguided opinion of 'value' also extends to their notion of 'compassionate', and so the eggheads think that actions have no consequences, that morality is relative (progressives actually have very specific morality and visciously attack dissenters) and that disasterous decisions of the ignorant and desolute should be subsidized by the prudent and self-diciplined.

StychoKiller's picture

Rich DeVoss, founder of Amway, gave a great speech, called "Selling America", for the Junior Achievement Org. of Canada:

His defense of the Capitalist System STILL has not been topped.

Curiously enough, he ALSO wrote a book called "Compassionate Capitalism"  Just because someone mis-uses a phrase, doesn't mean it has no validity. (Note the three negatives there, grammar Nazis!) :>D

Downtoolong's picture

"imprudent delevering"

I have no debt. I choose not to. Why can my government choose diferently for me?


skepticCarl's picture

Talk about taking quotations out of context to paint a biased picture.  The author of the article only used quoted phases, not even whole sentences, let alone providing a lenghy reproduction of Arianna's speech.

Maybe what she said was complete nonsense, but the cherry-picked fragments presented here should not considered proof of her lack of knowledge or intelligence, or of her views regarding economics.

Econophile's picture

I provided a link to her article.

strannick's picture

'Cheery picked nonsense'? If the alternative is having to listen to more of her sappy Keynsian crap, then I'll take the cherries. I do agree with the 'nonsense' part though.

DevilsPrinciple's picture

And of course Carl what you gave is a scintillating and in depth rebuttal of this authors critique of Huffington ?

"Maybe what she said was complete nonsense, but the cherry-picked fragments presented here should not considered proof of her lack of knowledge or intelligence, or of her views regarding economics."


So what do you think she said , Carl ?


Personally, I believe that Huffington is exactly as described by Econophile. There is no reason to believe otherwise, unless of course  you 're liberal idiot.

FrankDrakman's picture

This approach to fundamentalist Keynesian economics believes that somehow it is government that creates wealth in an economy

Well, I am not sure exactly what you mean by "fundamentalist Keynesian economics", but certainly this "belief" is not one that JMK shared in any way. He was quite clear that society's wealth was created by the 'entrepeneur' class, using the work of 'labour', both of which he respected. In his writing, he barely veiled his contempt for the rentier class, which today has morphed into the banksters.

This is not to say that Huffnpuff isn't a jumped-up idiot. She most definitely is. But to suggest "pretend and extend" is in any way an accurate reflection of JMK's view betrays a certain ignorance of his work.

Econophile's picture

Well, it depends on which Keynes you are talking about. His writings are a mass of conflicting ideas. As you know he favored centralized economic planning supervised by technocrat intellectuals like himself, a fascistic approach to economics. He was essentially a utopian who believed the "economic problem" would eventually be solved. But to address your specific criticism, Keynes believed that government could print money and spend it to create wealth and revive the economy (he followed Bagehot in this). And that is clearly wrong. But, he said a lot of different things over his life, so at various times I could be correct and you could be correct. Thanks for your comment.

ThisIsBob's picture

Plus, she's an idiot.

Arvo Particleboard's picture

How dare you insult the Eva Gabor of contemporary journalism.

lamont cranston's picture

Oliver Wendell Douglas is upset that you compared Lisa to Arachnae Huff-N-Puff-n-Stuf. 

El Gordo's picture

Who are these people and where do you find their work?  Never heard of them before.

sun tzu's picture

Huff inherited billions from the rich old man she married. Now she's a 99%er

mendolover's picture

One has to be completely soul-less to lead the lives these monsters do  Special place in hell!

ISEEIT's picture


The difference is the difference between true and false.

There isn't a 'middle way' that does anything other than allow for the world we now live in.

Airyanna is simply an opportunist.

ZH comes across as 'conservative' because that just so happens to be where reality lands.

It's the math and it's the facts.

Believe otherwise if you find doing so to be amusing or enabling.

Just keep it in the back of your mind that bullshit has a much shorter timeline than does truth.

Don't confuse Conservatism with the republican clown party.

Maybe that is your issue?

Trust me I don't think all self identified 'progressives' are evil.

Foolish and naive?




DevilsPrinciple's picture

"ZH comes across as 'conservative' because that just so happens to be where reality lands.

It's the math and it's the facts.

Believe otherwise if you find doing so to be amusing or enabling.

Just keep it in the back of your mind that bullshit has a much shorter timeline than does truth.

Don't confuse Conservatism with the republican clown party.

Maybe that is your issue?

Trust me I don't think all self identified 'progressives' are evil.

Foolish and naive?





Iseeit got game.

TradingJoe's picture

Hah,one dumb slut! PERIOD!!!

williambanzai7's picture

Personally, I prefer Hannah Barbera's works to those of Ariana Huffington.

victor82's picture

Although nothing Hannah and Barbera has done since the mid-Sixties has equaled that one, bright glorious season of Jonny Quest.

Dr. Zin for Fed Chair!

Angus McHugepenis's picture

I'll support South Park all the way.

Wakanda's picture

"But Yogi, Mr. Ranger isn't gonna like this!"

Vendetta's picture

No fan of Arianna here or her site, I can't read much there that interests me.  But someone who still thinks one party or the other is more responsible for destroying the monetary system than the other party, has politically and artificially created blinders on.

ZDRuX's picture

^^ THIS.


It is not a problem with any party, it is a problem with a system that allows this to happen. Government is the problem, always has been and will be. Any system that allows people to do as they wish with no recourse always turns on its own sooner or later.

lasvegaspersona's picture

Every so often, after a few hours of ZH, then a bit of good red meat conspiracy wackyism, my mind starts to glaze and the thought that I might be fighting the last war emerges. I  am born to worry so that remains a constant, but I want to be worried about the right thing! Should I be prepping for hyperinflation? That seems to be the logical outcome of the Global Financial Crisis but it just seems too obvious. Last Friday Geithner all but admitted that our debt is greater than 50 Trillion! (As Alex Jones is fond of saying, "it is out in the open"). So by now every person at all interested knows the dollar is doomed. Why has the USA not been betrayed yet in a Prisoners Dilemma scenario? Why has not China made the quick break for the exit? Why is gold not yet $50k/oz (current value purchasing power) and why do I not yet see the $500 trillion bills in the gutter? Maybe the elite really so have their spaceship/hole in the ground/secret mountain hideout/hollowed out volcano. They are just waiting for the 'sign'. Maybe they do have a plan for mass annihilation to bring the planet back to 'sustainable human population levels.'

I'd guess I'd prefer to believe that there is someone at the control levers and that they know we about to crash and they are secretly preparing. The fact that we just keep drifting however suggests something else because I do think if there really was a control lever that the guy with his hand on it could resist the urge to yank good would that feel, to be the guy who saved or tried to save the world.

No, I am coming to the conclusion that not only is there no such lever but that the almighty powers that be do not see that the track ends and the bridge has been washed out and we are headed for oblivion. They see what they have always seen. They are rich and think that they are very bright but they are not. Those that do see a problem coming are to them, the modern fool. They are jesters for entertainment, the Stephen Kings of Economy, very good at scaring folks for fun.

Ultimately I cannot do anything much differently than I have. I do not have a ticket for the spaceship and I do not know the date of the rapture so I keep on preparing for the evil I know. I just hope that like all the generals of the past whose names are forgotten because they lost, that I am not worrying about the wrong things.


Tortuga's picture

succint quote supplied by js over on mineset kinda sums up the conclusions of most of us, amazing how MT and Ayn Rand were such potent observers/scribes of the human condition, things never change:

Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on or by imbeciles who really mean it.
–Mark Twain

Doesn't help me or you respond to the current mess but it's a catalyst for heavy thinking, along with a cold six-pac, maybe some dogs grillin and the kids screaming on the slip n slide. I'm stocking up on tp (have 5 girls in the house that are adverse to leaves or grass), enjoying the family @ every opportunity,keeping the powder dry, reading, learning and listening to the king blog.

Beau Tox's picture

Las Vegas;

New Orleans says HI!  That was a very succinct statement which encompasses my very feelings.  Thank you!

TrulyBelieving's picture

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.  It's obvious to anyone looking that we are in for some very trying times. Evil abounds, along with its consequences, on a level never seen before. But there is an escape, and I suspect you know what it is. Hold on to that, and do what is right.

Obadiah's picture


Dont belive that "rapture" bullshit it's Satans lie to decieve the whole earth he has come to "save us".  He is the one who comes at the 6th trump he is a fake.  The TRUE Christ returns at the 7th.

Waaaait for it.....

Obadiah's picture

They are wanting to extend and pretend as long as they can... meanwhile milking the machine for as long as it will let them... they all dont want it to crash... no not yet.. theres gold in them thar paper assets to be accummulated and turned into hard assets.

Get into the true WORD of GOD ( King James)  find a good teacher, then say to yourself  Wow?  so simple a child could understand.

I recommend this ole boy in Arkansas

lasvegasxxx  GOD has a plan for you and it is perfect... a plan where failure is impossible...  Thats the only plan i gots and thus no worries!


The Alarmist's picture

I would be more worried that the crap they are spraying into the atmosphere to slow down global warming, climate change, whatever, might end up doing more harm, like a global ice age or a thermal greenhouse runaway. Point out one thing any govt has ever done that has actually gone to or better than plan.

Calmyourself's picture

If she is intellectually weak and I could not agree more what does it say of the pablum lapping losers who suck their thumbs in that playpen?

Obadiah's picture

You stupid bitch.

Back to cooking my dinner and then ready yourself for luv!!

Rogue Economist's picture

What would be a good way to inform YOU Econophile that you are a shallow thinker publishing derivative drivel on Daily Capitalist?  Compared to you, Arianna Huffington is practically Einstein.


ArmchairRevolutionary's picture

Exactly. I am not going to bother reading Ariana Huffington on economics. However, reading Econophile criticizing Ariana Huffington is like reading a complete fucking idiot criticize someone about which the complete idiot knows nothing. It is somewhere between comical and sad.

gwar5's picture

Chameleon Bitch weeeth an accent, Bitchez.  Arrianna is a vagina traitor, promoting nip slips and statism clap trap. 


Just read an article in American Thinker how the Soviet Red Army literally Nationalized women right after the revolution. The young hot ones were fair game for the men o keep them happy and the ugly ones were rounded up for field labor. They would even go house to house. Naturally, it was all to advance the interests of the state. 

A former liberal democrat woman, a CPA with a Masters degree, recently echoed the same type of fears. Said she'd never vote for another progressive again, using some very unkind words: 

"Women have worked hard for decades to get where we are. I have everything I could want with my family and career. I make all the decisions for the family and am fully empowered to do whatever I want.  Now the damn socialists are taking over and telling us women we're all stupid and only the government knows best. They want to take everything we've worked for away from us. Look what they're doing. They want my kids to become de facto healthcare and educational wards of the state and want to tell all of us what to eat. What're they going to do next, requisition our pussies? Barack and Michelle can get their damn Gucci shoes out of my refrigerator.


...and she continued...


The Mayans only sacrificed a couple of virgins a year. Men like Obama and their enablers want 150 million American women to go medieval again and disempower ourselves at the alter of their statist God. Seriously? It's a no branier, I'd much rather be married to a violent wifebeater, I can ditch him a lot faster."


...Uh, oh. Landslide.




memyselfiu's picture

what an utter fucking pile of bullshit you spewed right there- this 'former liberal democrat woman' sounds nothing like the sort. provide links

mr. mirbach's picture

She just started Huffington Post because the National Enquirer wouldn't print her bullshit.