In his latest conspiracy theory, Glenn Beck claimed that George Soros supports a devalued dollar for the sole purpose of "betting against America" for personal profit. In fact, many economists -- including Nobel laureate Paul Krugman -- have said that a weakened dollar can provide economic benefits.
Beck's conspiracy theory: Soros will be "betting against America" after call for weaker dollar
Beck: "Spooky dude" George Soros will "profit" off "managed decline" of the dollar by "betting against America." During the October 18 edition of Fox News' Glenn Beck, Beck cited a 2009 interview Soros gave to the Financial Times in which Soros discussed the economic benefits of a weakening dollar. Beck said that he would "guess" that Soros will soon be "betting against America" in order to "profit" off the "managed decline" of the U.S. dollar. Beck immediately began discussing the value of gold.
Beck previously accused "spooky dude" Soros of orchestrating a collapse of American currency to enrich himself. On the October 5 edition of Glenn Beck, Beck claimed that Soros "thought the dollar needs to be devalued" and cited a Financial Times op-ed in which Soros argued for more stimulus spending. Beck said, "Spooky dude says spend more money." He added: "I don't know if this is the start of the latest, you know, Soros push to collapse a currency. I don't know if this is it; oh, but it's coming. Be prepared, because powerful people like George Soros would like that to happen. Because they're preparing. Have you?"
Soros pointed to broad economic benefits of "an orderly decline of the dollar"
Soros: "[A]n orderly decline of the dollar is actually desirable" to boost exports and compensate for decreased consumer spending. In the interview with the Financial Times that Beck cited, Soros discussed concerns about the dollar's relative strength to the value of other international currencies. Soros said that "to some extent it's very helpful" when the dollar declines in value on the international market "because with the US consumers saving more and spending less, exports can be way for the US economy to be balanced. So an orderly decline of the dollar is actually desirable."
Soros later said that "a decline in the value of the dollar is necessary in order to compensate for the fact that the US economy will remain rather weak, will be a drag on the global economy." He was then asked whether he was concerned about the possibility of inflation. Soros responded:
Well, it could be if lending restarts and the balance sheet of the Federal Reserve is not shrunk commensurately, but I think this is something ... it's a delicate manoeuvre, but I think it can be done. So there would be a slow decline in the value of the dollar, a managed decline, and that would be the adjustment that needs to be accomplished. Now it could actually get out of hand and certainly the fear of inflation will precede inflation itself and actually the fear of inflation in the markets -- let's say, driving up interest rates -- could then forestall the inflation and push the economy back into a recession. [Financial Times, 10/23/09]
Many economists have noted that a weakened dollar can provide broad economic benefits
Krugman: "The truth is that the falling dollar is good news." In an October 11, 2009, New York Times column, Nobel laureate Paul Krugman wrote that "a modern version of the gold standard mentality" is "exerting a growing influence on our economic discourse" and that it "could undermine our chances for a full recovery." Krugman continued:
Consider first the current uproar over the declining international value of the dollar.
The truth is that the falling dollar is good news. For one thing, it's mainly the result of rising confidence: the dollar rose at the height of the financial crisis as panicked investors sought safe haven in America, and it's falling again now that the fear is subsiding. And a lower dollar is good for U.S. exporters, helping us make the transition away from huge trade deficits to a more sustainable international position.
But if you get your opinions from, say, The Wall Street Journal's editorial page, you're told that the falling dollar is a terrible thing, a sign that the world is losing faith in America (and especially, of course, in President Obama). Something, you believe, must be done to stop the dollar's slide. And in practice the dollar's decline has become a stick with which conservative members of Congress beat the Federal Reserve, pressuring the Fed to scale back its efforts to support the economy. [The New York Times, 10/11/09]
Nouriel Roubini: "[E]verybody wants a weaker currency." During a September 15 interview with Bloomberg Radio's Surveillance, economist Nouriel Roubini was asked about the need for international currency coordination. Roubini said, "We're not going to get the meeting because the reality is that everybody wants a weaker currency. The U.S. needs a weaker dollar to grow its exports. The Europeans needs a weaker euro to grow their exports. The Japanese need a weaker yen to grow their exports. Even the Swiss are intervening to prevent the Swiss franc from appreciating" [Surveillance, 9/15/10, accessed via Nexis].
Zandi: The falling dollar has "been positive" and was "a real boon to U.S. businesses." In a 2007 NPR interview, economist Mark Zandi was asked, "[H]ow is the fall of the dollar affecting the U.S. economy?" Zandi said that "on net, it's been positive," adding, "It's been a real boon to U.S. business." He explained:
We are exporting a lot more now overseas, imports are coming in at a less rapid pace, and that's very positive for business. Obviously, it's not very positive for consumers who are out buying imported goods and, thus, have to pay more for everything, from that Chilean wine that you mentioned to...
Mr. ZANDI: ...that handbag from Italy. But on net, I think it's a positive, at least so far. [National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation, 10/10/07, accessed via Nexis]
Beck previously revived anti-Semitic conspiracy theory that Soros "triggered economic meltdown"
Beck forwarded Malaysian official's anti-Semitic smear of Soros. On the October 5 edition of his Fox News show, Beck stated that "many, including the Malaysian prime minister, believe it was billionaire speculator George Soros who helped trigger the [Southeast Asian] economic meltdown" in 1997, a reference to former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad's false and anti-Semitic claim that Soros was part of a Jewish "agenda" to collapse Southeast Asian currencies. Mahathir later retracted the claim.