Charles Ferguson: "Standing Behind Every Great Con Artist Is Someone Like Glenn Hubbard "

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Charles Ferguson, Oscar-winning creator of Inside Job

Standing Behind Every Great Con Artist is Someone Like Glenn Hubbard

Mitt Romney has a credibility problem. He changes his beliefs like laundry (abortion, medical insurance, whether Bin Laden was worth killing, attacking Iran), refuses to disclose his tax returns, and won't explain how he could possibly pay for the tax cuts he proposes. But there is another scandal in Romney's campaign -- namely Glenn Hubbard, Romney's chief economic advisor, who was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under George W. Bush, and is now Dean of Columbia Business School.

I interviewed Hubbard for my documentary film Inside Job, and analyzed his record again for my book Predator Nation. The film interview became famous because Hubbard blew his cool after I interrogated him about his conflicts of interest: "This isn't a deposition, sir. I was polite enough to give you time, foolishly I now see, but you have three more minutes. Give it your best shot." But the really important thing about Hubbard isn't his personality; it's that as an economist and an advisor, he is a total, unmitigated disaster.

First, Hubbard has an abysmal track record in economic policy, including the very issues that Romney has made the pillar of his presidential campaign. Second, like Romney, Hubbard refuses to disclose critical information about his income, conflicts of interest, and paid advocacy activities. Third, both in public statements and in my personal experience, Hubbard has been evasive, misleading, and even dishonest when discussing both policy issues and his own conflicts of interest. And last but not least, those conflicts of interest are huge: Hubbard has long advocated policies that Wall Street loves, often without disclosing that he is, in fact, highly paid by Wall Street.

Let's start with tax cuts, since Romney claims that he can cut tax rates sharply without increasing the deficit, and without benefiting the rich. Mr. Romney claims that tax cuts will be fully paid for by closing loopholes and deductions, and will not add to the deficit; Hubbard has publicly supported Romney's claims. Interestingly, Mr. Hubbard has quite a record on this very issue. Shortly after becoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors in 2001, he spearheaded the Bush administration's tax cuts, and he said lots about them.

How did that work out? First, we now know that over half of the benefits of the Bush-Hubbard tax cuts went to the top 1 percent of the population. In part to benefit the wealthy, the tax cuts were also structured to reward investment in financial assets, rather than either consumer spending or real capital investment. As a result, the tax cuts caused huge budget deficits, yet did little to stimulate growth or job creation: there were basically no new jobs created during the Bush administration, despite adding trillions to the national debt.

That is not, however, what Hubbard said would happen. On August 22, 2001, he published anarticle in the Wall Street Journal entitled "Tax Cuts Won't Hurt the Surplus." Oops. In the article, also, Hubbard predicts that his tax cuts would preserve the Clinton budget surpluses by causing GNP to grow 0.3 percent per year faster.

Hubbard also co-authored an article with William Dudley, then the chief economist of Goldman Sachs, entitled "How Capital Markets Enhance Economic Performance and Job Creation." It was published by the Goldman Sachs Global Markets Institute in 2004, just as the housing bubble was getting seriously crazy. In my filmed interview, here's how Hubbard described the article:

INTERVIEWER: In 2004 you co-wrote a paper with William Dudley, who was then the chief economist of Goldman Sachs. What do you think about the arguments you made in that paper?

GLENN HUBBARD: As I recall that paper, the arguments were basically to the effect that healthy capital markets are important for the economy, views that I held before and certainly hold after.

Well, here's what that paper really said. Hubbard wrote that "The ascendancy of the U.S. capital markets" had yielded "enhanced stability of the U.S. banking system... more jobs and higher wages... less frequent and milder [recessions}... a revolution in housing finance." Later in the article: "The capital markets have helped make the housing market less volatile... " Next, "Credit crunches... are a thing of the past... " and my personal favorite, "The revolution in housing finance has also... been important in making the economy less cyclical." In other parts of the article, Hubbard and Dudley specifically praise credit default swaps for their role in reducing and spreading risk. Like wow, man.

Hubbard refused to tell me whether he was paid to write that article; no payment is disclosed in the document itself, nor on Hubbard's CV. Which brings us to Mr. Hubbard's many, many disclosure problems and conflicts of interest. After the release of my film Inside Job, Columbia University was forced to establish disclosure requirements for the first time for its professors. At the time, Hubbard stated that he welcomed them. Well, it wasn't quite that way in our interview. Here are some selections, verbatim and unedited:

INTERVIEWER: Let me go back to your own personal business involvements. I'm looking at your résumé now, and I guess it looks to me as if the majority of your outside activities are consulting and directorship arrangements with the financial services industry. Would you not agree with that characterization?

GLENN HUBBARD: Not to my knowledge. I don't think my consulting clients are even on my C.V.

INTERVIEWER: Who are your consulting clients?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't believe I have to discuss that with you. You have a few more minutes and the interview's over.

Slightly later:

INTERVIEWER: Okay. Who are you a director of?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't believe I have to answer that question.

Well, actually, now that Columbia had adopted disclosure regulations, we now know at least something about Hubbard's income sources, and the overwhelming majority of them are in the financial sector. The HTML version his CV (which you can read here) does not fully disclose his activities, but if you click on the PDF version, you see more. And what you see is that at least two thirds of his literally dozens of consulting, advisory, and directorship arrangements over the last decade are with the financial sector -- MetLife, KKR, Goldman Sachs, Freddie Mac, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, the list goes on and on.

Even Columbia's new policy does not require Hubbard to disclose how much they pay him; all we know currently comes from required SEC disclosures of his director's fees from the boards of three financial sector companies, which pay him over $700,000 per year. His total financial sector income, including consulting and speaking, is undoubtedly much higher. Yet here's how he described his income in our interview, once again verbatim and unedited:

INTERVIEWER: Forgive me, but I'm going to be direct: How does your personal income compare, your private income as opposed to your university salary?

GLENN HUBBARD: Vastly times more, because I write textbooks, so that's much more remunerative than being a professor.

INTERVIEWER: How about your consulting income from the financial services industry, and your directorships?

GLENN HUBBARD: I don't do much consulting in the financial services industry. I do have some directorships, but the income from those would be modest compared to my other income.

Textbooks. You read that correctly. As for not doing "much" consulting for the financial sector, I counted consulting or directorships with 29 financial sector firms on your CV. And your $700K per year directorship income is "modest" compared to the other stuff? Really, now, Glenn.

But we're not done yet. There is a more that Hubbard still hasn't disclosed, and refused to disclose to us when we were making Inside Job. On his CV, Hubbard lists The Analysis Group as a consulting client. That is misleading at best. The Analysis Group is one of a half dozen major firms that specializes in matching private companies and lobbying groups, who are the real clients, with professors who they pay to support their positions in regulatory, policy, Congressional, and legal disputes. It was The Analysis Group, for example, that arranged for Hubbard to testify on behalf of two Bear Stearns hedge fund managers who were prosecuted for securities fraud in 2009. Hubbard was paid $100,000 for his testimony.

Hubbard has been affiliated with the Analysis Group for many years, but when we asked him, he refused to disclose who he had worked for or what he had done. He also refused to provide us with a copy of the Federal financial disclosure form he was required to submit in 2001; we couldn't obtain it from the White House, because they had already destroyed (yes, that is interesting, isn't it?). Nor has Hubbard provided his total consulting income, his tax returns, or a comprehensive list of his income sources and clients for the period since he left the White House in 2003.

So the next time you hear Mitt Romney refuse to release his tax returns, and then tell you that he can cut taxes and balance the budget while creating lots of jobs, well... I would ask you to remember that standing behind every great con artist is someone like... Glenn Hubbard.

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williambanzai7's picture

So this douche bag, whom I remember very well from the film, is Romney's, I mean Wall Street's, secret economic weapon....

BOHICA everyone!

economics9698's picture

Hubbard, UCF grad, is a fucking Keynesian.  His textbook is 50% propaganda bull shit.  Political programming for the masses. 

ThirdWorldDude's picture

Is Glenn related to L. Ron Hubbard? That would explain a lot!

economics9698's picture

The Bush tax cuts, 2003, resulted in a revenue increase of 40.1%. If I told you that the increase in revenue was because of the Bush tax cuts I would be lying. Alan Greenspan’s 1% federal funds rate and the housing boom created most of the tax revenue increase but the Bush tax cuts were instrumental in giving the green light to consumers to spend, spend spend.

It’s a lie that tax cuts hurt tax collections. Unless they are below 25%, and we have not seen that rate since Calvin Coolidge, they collect MORE taxes because of increased economic activity.

Reagan collected 69% more revenue over his 8 years.

Kennedy posthumous cuts in 1964 greatly expanded tax collections.

Romney should eliminate corporate taxes and cut the top rate down to 30%.

The author does not understand why there is such wealth inequality and blames it on tax cuts. He is clueless. The reason for the wealth inequality, which began in 1971, is because of inflation.

The rich and government own the means of production and can raise prices whenever they want and have the ability to do so. The working class cannot and their wages are subject to supply and demand. With unlimited immigration, higher payroll taxes for social programs like Medicare and social security, and constant inflation of course they are going to lose out.

It has nothing to do with the top rate going from 39.6% to 35%. This is absurd.

These economic “experts” should do a little fucking research before they open their fucking mouth making a fool of themselves before a national audience.

Hubbard is clueless as well.

If you want to stop wealth inequality return to a gold or silver standard.  Until then these assholes are talking bull shit.


hawk nation's picture

Nice response I'm going to keep my eye on you [supposed to be from the scene in back to school with dangerfield]

CaptainObvious's picture

Heh heh, crazy Sam Kinnison.  How I'd like to see him in Nanny Bloomberg's face right now. 

"...putting headbands on, running in the goddamn New York Marathon!  AHHHHHHH!  AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!"

true brain's picture

Isn't this a round-about way of attacking Romney on the final weekend before the vote? They're all crooks. What about Obama's con-artist, Corzine, Rubin, Summers, Levit, etc .etc.

That's why I ain't voting no more.

Whiner's picture

You Sir are not bright. Vote for the candidate who will hurt you LESS! It's like having to choose a bride out of the whore house. Don't pick the one w herpes, but the one with a head cold

true brain's picture

Whiner, you're such a typical idiotic sheeple. Don't you even think? So Romney take 49% from me and Obama takes 50%, big freaking difference. Both supports NDAA, drones, wars upon wars. If you have a little brain and critical thinking skill,  you will realize that there is essentially no difference between the two. By voting, you legitimize and allow the corrupt government to persist. If 50.01% of voters don't vote, the government does not have legitimate claim to govern and everything must be redone until there is majority vote. Do you understand now? Idiot.

true brain's picture

Whiner, you're such a typical idiotic sheeple. Don't you even think? So Romney take 49% from me and Obama takes 50%, big freaking difference. Both supports NDAA, drones, wars upon wars. If you have a little brain and critical thinking skill,  you will realize that there is essentially no difference between the two. By voting, you legitimize and allow the corrupt government to persist. If 50.01% of voters don't vote, the government does not have legitimate claim to govern and everything must be redone until there is majority vote. Do you understand now? Idiot.

i_call_you_my_base's picture

"Bush tax cuts were instrumental in giving the green light to consumers to spend, spend spend."

Really? I thought it was primarily people levering up their homes.

Too Big 2's picture

You make some good points but let's cut through the b.s.  If the citizens of the USA want to create jobs we only have to establish a flat tax. 

If Romney were smart he would make Forbes his economic advisor and get a flat tax established for both personal and corporate taxes.

Kobe Beef's picture

If Romney were smart: Ron Paul, Treasury Secretary.

disabledvet's picture

the reason for so much inequality is the perpetual bailouts of the real estate "lobby." i think Sandy might have popped the last three bubbles: Manhattan, Switzerland and California. We shall see. Once real estate values nationally start resetting then i think a great "leveling effect" will begin. Obviously your argument is totally false empirically: taxes were astronomical after World War II...and there wasn't a lot of inequality. The current variant only happened after Nixon and the closing of the so called "gold window." Simply put "the rich have gotten bailouts and we've gotten the shaft" ever since.

Totentänzerlied's picture

Post-war America had more advantages than any other nation ever, period. Cheap gas and rapid adoption of car ownership, all economic rivals totally decimated, an entire continent plus many other regions needing to be rebuilt, the whole red scare bullshit provoking the biggest military spending binge in history, Bretton Woods, biggest population explosion in national history and one of the largest of all time, etc. etc. etc.

No, it was just the tax rate. Do you take everyone to be as much of a fool as you are?

"taxes were astronomical after World War II...and there wasn't a lot of inequality." Blue therefore seven, up therefore black. Seriously?

earleflorida's picture


Lawrence Lindsey 2001-02 was the 'Dir. Nat'l Econ Council'! Lindsey was responsible for authoring 'The bush #43 Tax Cuts', as a financial advisor extraordinaire, period! Subsequently, shortly after Bush #43 took the U?S into war- as all good republicans do- Larry Lindsey was fired from his dual post'd job[s]! Why? He had the audacity... 'too-stand-up-on-his-own-two-feet' stating publicly that the 'True Cost' was well over the administration figure [and, he himself, was well short also... surprise, surprise?] and with the siding of Paul O'Neill the 'Secretary of Treasury' [2001-02] they both were given the terrorist/ traitors stigmatization via Georgie `Boy! "Off with Their Heads!!!"

Glenn Hubbard had help from brother 'JEB' of Florida? Why you ask? Bush won because of ?! The job was his on a high status recon-list. It's that simple!

The "PTB" could care less...

Check these links:  Alan Blinder [POS] & Lawrence Lindsey ie., "once loved, twice burned" [fat-POS]---    here if problem:    ref: 3/27/12 Pg3 directory-- "2 Prominent Economists Say the Bush Tax cuts Must go" [oh, the hypocracy of it all ... it's ok to laugh- or cry?!] 

and here from bizzar'r`oh-land`ahoy... `Who Really Owns NYC's Financial District?'-- Jekyll-Island Incarnate    

In conclusion... I find the author to be part of the Hollywood Crowd gathering up kindle for his next 'Tempest In A TeaPot'... Shitless FireStorm! 

Ps. Just so there's no confusion;  Columbia, Princeton, Wharton, Chicago BSoE, Stanford GSoB, Yale or Harvard, et.el. mean shit when their curriculum's fundamental is pigeon-holed in a 'Keynesian BirdCage'!

Ps2.     Go Romney!!!





malikai's picture

L. Ron Hubbard was a "nuclear scientist" turned scifi writer turned cult leader. In one of his books (History of Radiation I think it was called), he wrote that radiation does not effect the brain at all.

I'd say Glenn is probably L. Ron's zombified corpse.

no taste's picture

Dear Mr. Eastwood,

Mr. Eastwood, I am a Republican.  I am an angry Republican.  I will NOT vote for Mr. Romney.


Not that the other asshole is any better.

Bananamerican's picture

so far 12 assholes disagree with you, NT

no taste's picture

I am sure that there are many more than 12 assholes who disagree with me.  Blankfein alone is so important that he counts as something like quadzillion assholes.

As a simple matter though, why don't people just vote for a third party?  It almost doesn't matter which third party.

I know too many hard-working, taxpaying middle Americans who think somehow something will be some tiny bit better for them with Romney.  It ain't going to happen.  Americans are going to be screwed by Robnomba.

icanhasbailout's picture

Well, Obama could win perhaps, and Larry Summers and Tim Geithner will ride to the rescue...

socalbeach's picture

Regardless of what one thinks of the candidates, Obama is probably going to win. Nate Silver is the most rigorous of the pollsters I've come across and he has an impressive track record.  He correctly called the winner in 49/50 states in the 2008 pres election, and all of the 35 Senate races. Romney's main hope now is that the state polls are "biased" in Obama's favor.

williambanzai7's picture

Summers and this guy are the same kind of fucking maggots which is just more evidence of the illusion of choice,

disabledvet's picture

I have no idea what this guy is going to do. I would say he will be taking orders "from the boss" should that boss be hired so you might as well put Mitt Romney up there. Anywho "the bailout regime is fully entrenched." I don't see anyone changing that anytime soon...

Fredo Corleone's picture

This very same article regarding Mr. Hubbard was posted on Cafe Americain on 27 October; it runs still.

How serendipidous for the Incumbent, that such stale news finds itself as top weekend billing -- a mere three days before the Election.

11b40's picture

Any comments on the facts presented?  I had not seen this previously, so what's your point? You prefer we all learn these details after the fact?

Gully Foyle's picture

So many anti-Romney posts lately.

It's almost as if Obama were the default ZH candidate.

Even Thirty Rock was much darker regarding Obama than ZH has been.

Then again there are the rumors this is just a trap site established by BIGOV to track the "radicals".


Bananamerican's picture

Gully, you are one sick puppy

Oldwood's picture

Most were just happy to make fun of Romney when he was perceived as behind. Now that there is talk of him possibly winning, the sharp knives are coming out! There are a lot of folks here who openly attack the idea of socialism but secretly are hoping for a good paying position once the plan is fully in place. Humans always seem to find a way to make lemonaid from lemons and I think reality tells us regardless of this race, we will be seeing lots of lemons in our futures. I can hear the lemonaid stands (as permitted by Obama) being built right now!

prains's picture

what does that make you then Gully??????

Almost Solvent's picture


Because the government needs to set up a "fake" website to spread the truth about how rotten to the core our economic/political system is?

It's not like they already run all US internet traffic through Langley computers. 

Oh yes, the TinFoil crowd always flips out when sites like ZH start going mainstream. 


ZH has started to go mainstream - and all that goes along with it, including increased traffic through Langley computers. 

glenlloyd's picture

Like I've been saying all along, it's either the devil you know or the devil you don't know.

Pick one or the other, not going to make a difference at all, there's nothing remarkably different between the two.

As RP said before when asked about whether we need a third party, I would agree, we need a true second party.

Same old same old

tooktheredpill's picture

I wouldn't stress too much, if its not Hubbard, it would be someone just as bad until Wall St stops pulling the strings. I wonder what happened to Larry Summers.

max2205's picture

And so who is behind The bernake

john39's picture

The rothschilds and a few other crime cabal families... estimated to own at least half of the entire world's wealth.

samsara's picture

Dup (damn touch screens)

samsara's picture

Easy, who owns controlling shares in the private company he works for?

I would expect to see names like Warburg,Rothchilds, Rockefeller, et al

john39's picture

strange that people down arrow this type of factual comment.  look it up idiots, do you think these parasites run the FED as some sort charity for the cattle?

vast-dom's picture

Thank you Charles for your public service and excellent doc. 

LMAOLORI's picture



Actually the correct answer is the politicians since they could end the fed tomorrow. Dem Chuck Schummer get to work Bernanke and a week or so later he did.


Crimedog's picture

ZH - dare I say it - fair and balanced

Element's picture

He'll fit right in.

Wakanda's picture

Pointy heads like Glenn Hubbard piss me off way more than the politicians that use them for cover.

Melin's picture

The pointy headed Glenn Hubbards are using the dimwitted politicians for cover.

Hence, the permanence of it all.

centerline's picture

When finance shifts from being a service to mankind into the controlling mechanism... this is what you get.  Period.

john39's picture

actually, it has probably always bee this way...  just a lot easier to see now.

Spastica Rex's picture

It is partly a problem of scale.

centerline's picture

I would agree but expand upon it that it has been the design and supply of "currency" that has been king since common mediums of exchange were put to widespread use.  When that expands to fuel an entire "financial" sector that has such power over virtually everything else, the outcome is widespread fraud.

Spastica Rex's picture

I don't think anything is ever going to "serve mankind" in an all inclusive, global sense; that's what I meant about scale. Corruption is harder to inhibit as scale increases. Complexity and the number of failure points increase as scale increases. The consequences of failure due to corruption or complexity increase with scale.

I think our national socio/economic systems are too large to function properly - if by "properly" one means to serve the interests of those governed as a whole. Supranational systems are even worse. The idea of a global system is terrifying.

11b40's picture

Thank you, Rex, and plus 100!

This whole "bigness" dynamic has been encroaching on humanity for over 50 years, but the computer revolution allowed it to move into hyper drive.  Humans are not machines, but we are being treated like them, and they are quickly becoming our masters, creating the situation you well describe.