Buckley on Galbraith

Max Sawicky had a fitting tribute to the late John Kenneth Galbraith and linked to several others. This may be a little on the late side, but I was truly insulted by the National Review’s version of an obituary for Professor Galbraith, which was to replay this September 2001 smear from William Buckley. Consider, for example, this passage:

Prime Minister Trudeau, who ruled over Canada for 15 years, superintending a drop in the Canadian dollar of 25 percent of its value, told the world that his economic policies were based on the work of John Kenneth Galbraith.

Pierre Trudeau became Prime Minister on April 20, 1968 and remained in this position until June 4, 1979 and then regained the position for the period from March 3, 1980 to June 30, 1984. Mr. Buckley failed to inform his reader that the Canadian dollar remained near parity with the U.S. dollar through 1977. It is true that the Canadian dollar devalued 17.5% against the U.S dollar by the end of Trudeau’s first term and its value was virtually unchanged through the period ending on October 31, 1980 even though Trudeau was no longer Prime Minister for much of this period.

As far as the further appreciation of the U.S. dollar with respect to the Canadian dollar from late 1980 to 1984, shouldn’t we note that most currencies followed this trend during the Reagan-Volcker mix of expansionary fiscal policies and tight monetary policies? To blame this on Professor Galbraith is simply the stupidity we have come to expect from the National Review.

So why should I be shocked that these folks would have the incredibly poor taste to re-run this Buckley smear piece upon the Professor’s passing?