Nobel Prize Winner Criticizes Bush & Co For Looting

"The government is not really telling the truth to the American people. Past administrations from the time of Alexander Hamilton have on the average run responsible budgetary policies. What we have here is a form of looting."
--George A. Akerlof, co-winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics

SPIEGEL ONLINE: It seems that the current administration has politicized you in an unprecedented way. During the course of this year, you have, with other academics, signed two public declarations of protest - one against the tax cuts, the other against waging unilateral preventive war on Iraq.

Akerlof: I think this is the worst government the US has ever had in its more than 200 years of history. It has engaged in extraordinarily irresponsible policies not only in foreign and economic but also in social and environmental policy. This is not normal government policy. Now is the time for people to engage in civil disobedience.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Of what kind?

Akerlof: I don't know yet. But I think it's time to protest - as much as possible.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Would you consider joining a Democratic administration as an adviser, as your colleague Joseph Stiglitz did?

Akerlof: As you know my wife was in the last administration, and she did very well. She is probably much better suited for public service. But anything I'll be asked to do by a new administration I'd be happy to do.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: You've mentioned the term civil disobedience a minute ago. That term was made popular by the author Henry D. Thoreau, who actually advised people not to pay taxes as a means of resistance. You wouldn't call for that, would you?

Akerlof: No. I think the one thing we should do is pay our taxes. Otherwise, it'll only make matters worse.