Tales From the Kook Factory: Being Broke is a Behavior Problem
April 13, 2009 • 12:26AM

Richard Thaler, the behaviorist kook who is one of the inner circle of "behavioral economists" around Barack Obama, says the biggest problem facing the millions of Americans approaching retirement age is not that the global financial system has collapsed and blown a huge hole in the retirement funds of some and driven others into abject poverty, but that people don't save enough! It's a behavioral problem!

"Aging Americans are facing a perfect storm when it comes to retirement," Thaler says. "Many have done little saving over the past two decades and have now seen what they have saved, either in their 401(k) or their home equity, decline sharply in value. Once they face these facts, Americans will have to relearn the saving habit.

"To figure out how, we need more than standard economic thinking, which is based on an idealized conception of behavior. Instead we need to focus on how people actually behave-a sensibility that defines the new field called 'behavioral economics.' Traditional economists bestow upon humans the mind of a computer and the willpower of a saint; I like to call these imaginary creatures Econs. These Econs have no difficulty saving because they rationally calculate how much wealth they need for retirement, reduce their consumption accordingly and then invest optimally. Econs never splurge or speculate. But the world is not populated by Econs-and if we understand how humans really behave, we can come up with ways to get them saving again."

See, according to this fascist idiot, being broke is a personal problem, a behavioral problem, which makes it your fault, not the fault of the parasites. If you believe that, you've already bought into the brainwashing. Thaler continues the brainwashing by asserting that the solution lies in the realm of forcing the automatic enrollment of people into savings plans. As opposed to, say, putting the failed global financial system through bankruptcy and organizing a new system based upon American System economics.

Thaler is the co-author, with Cass Sunstein, of "Nudge." His article, in issue of Newsweek dated April 20, is titled "It doesn't have to hurt." I guess if it does, that's your fault, too.