Phil Gramm’s statements that the United States is in a “mental recession” and that we are a “nation of whiners” earned him the coveted “Nero’s Fiddle” award. The award, which is redeemable in cash, unmarked bills, or in deposits to a certain Swiss bank account, keeps the recession in the mind but out of the pockets of this so-called “whiner.”
While it doesn’t have the cachet of Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake,” or Donald Rumsfeld’s “you go to war with the army you have,” Gramm’s statements are succinct, eloquent, and clear.
They also show that Gramm, who serves as McCain Campaign co-chair, and cice chair of investment bank UBS, and who is referred to as “McCain’s Econ Brain” understands exactly what most Americans are going thru, despite the facts of the personal wealth that he and his wife Wendy Gramm enjoy. Gramm understands the problems on Wall Street. UBS, which he is “Vice Chair” has declined in value to 2002 levels in the last year.
He also knows about energy costs. According to Jason Leopold, writing in the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel, “Gramm, as a powerful Texas senator in 2000, slipped an Enron-backed provision into the Commodities Futures Modernization Act that exempted from regulation energy trading on electronic platforms. Then, over the next year, Enron – with Gramm’s wife Wendy serving on its board of directors – worked to create false electricity shortages in California, bilking consumers out of an estimated $40 billion.”
It is not currently known who is worth more, Gramm, or McCain. The Presumptive Republican nominee is worth an estimated $50 million. (If Arizona is a community property state and Cindy McCain were to dump him for someone younger, he would get $50 million.) Gramm, on the other hand and as noted, is Vice Chairman of UBS.