Sunday, April 30, 2006


My oldest and best friend is a guy who is a hard core, unbending Conservative. Yeah... I know. But the truth is that he is mostly right and very hard to argue with in the wicked old "long run". Of course, I have a few other friends who don't necessarily fall into line behind Tommy. My friend Dan is one of those. And... lots and lots of the time I find myself agreeing with Dan and Tommy at the same time. Bob the hypocrite? Well, maybe. But the truth is that my own personal opinions are formed mostly from what I've read.

Knowing that, perhaps you can understand why I grieve the end of one of the best economists to write on the subject of the dismal science: John Kenneth Galbraith died last Saturday. He lived well into his nineties so his passing was no surprise. My friend Tom is quick to laugh at me trying to understand any economics, and that is fair enough. I freely admit to the fact that Tom has a much deeper understanding of the subject than I do. Anyone who needs proof need only look at the bank balances to compare us two. I admit it... when it comes to shuffling the money, Galbraith was one of those guys whose ability to write managed to get my attention. I liked the way the guy wrote so he managed to get at least some of the dismal science through my thick skull. Hell, I even got a good grade in Econ back in my salad days.

But he was one of those guys who made my friend Tommy's hackles rise... a Harvard liberal. I should point out that my friend Tommy who runs lumber yards and shuffles money in the trillion dollar crap game known as the construction trades... is a medium shot consultant for Harvard University on some kind of housing think tank that maps future home building trends in academia (that in itself sounds sort of liberalesque doesn't it?). So, my point is that in the long run the ghost of John Galbraith has the last laugh with Tom Leete. My friend Tommy became a faculty member at liberal bastion Harvard University at the same time as John Galbraith was still sitting as a faculty member at the old ivy covered walls there in Cambridge. Ha.

I'm still afraid to invest in hog bellies and I don't actually understand what it means to "sell short" on plywood, but while I don't agree with much of his politics, I'll admit to liking John Kenneth Galbraith... for the same reasons I like my friend Dan Gilmartin. Yeah, he's a hard core liberal but he's my friend. I like to hear his voice. If nothing else, he gives me something to smile at. A rare quality in these unsmiling times.