Friday, February 20, 2015

PCG's Robert Morley: Unaccredited Economist

PCG's Robert Morley is The Trumpet's economics man but he has no formal education in economics. That is the conclusion one must draw after seeing the following article by Grant Turgeon about Robert Morley, "Profile: How Robert Morley Became the Trumpet’s Economics Man" (February 26, 2014).
Among the five columnists for, Robert Morley is the youngest, the only one who is not a Philadelphia Church of God minister, yet he has become the site’s best-known economy writer to readers inside and outside the … [sic. Presumably this means PCG.]
But how qualified is Robert Morley to write about economic affairs? What is his background in regard to economics?
Morley said his passion for learning about finances and the economy actually began when he was an environmental scientist living in California from 2002 to 2005. He ... had a lot of questions. He asked himself, “How do you get ahead? What do you do to be a good steward with what God has given you?” [He was] challenged ... to learn the financial field to make wise investments.

The challenge showed him he had no idea how to use money prudently, he says. He started off by printing out finance and economy articles and reading them during his 90-minute train commutes in and out of Los Angeles.

Morley says his lack of formal training in economics turned out to be a blessing in disguise. He avoided a mainstream education that would have engrained the principle of credit and instead learned a different approach.
In other words Morley was never trained professionally about economics. He is not trained in economics.

Reading this suddenly a lot of what Morley has been saying suddenly makes sense: He is not an expert about economics despite the impression PCG's writings may give about him. 

It is worth considering that an untrained man was deemed worthy by PCG's leaders to write about economics for PCG's Trumpet. Don't they think The Trumpet's readers deserve to receive an expert's advice about economics rather than a self taught man? If Morley is The Trumpet's expert on economics who within PCG's leadership will correct him if he is wrong?

We continue with Turgeon's article.
“It’s one of those fields that’s trying to be a science, but it can’t,” he [Morley] says. “The more I understand, the less I understand.”

Morley says he was inspired to continue his financial research from conversations with California PCG member Ron Muzzy, who formerly produced an investment newsletter and gained some recognition by correctly forecasting the 1987 Black Monday worldwide stock market crash. Without Muzzy’s influence, Morley emphasizes that he would not be a Trumpet columnist today.
But PCG has been predicting financial catastrophe ever since it started in 1989. Since then America have been afflicted by two financial bubbles, the dot-com crash of 2000 and the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-8 which escalated into becoming a part of the Global Financial Crisis. And both times PCG's dire prophecies have failed to be fulfilled.

Turgeon's article also reveals that Morley comes from Saskatchewan, Canada.
Growing up in Saskatchewan, Morley ... played lots of sports, including wrestling.
 This shall be mentioned again later in this post.


Let us take a look at what Robert Morley has been saying about economics as noted in previous posts regarding The Trumpet Weekly. Let at look at what PCG's leaders have allowed Robert Morley to inflict upon their readers. Let us read this with the thought ever in our minds that Robert Morley is not a professionally trained economist.

Indented words are mine. Further indented words are quotations from Robert Morley.

Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2008).
December 6. ... Morley says the US dollar is doomed.
People are so afraid of the current Wall Street meltdown that they are willing to purchase federal bonds that pay interest rates far less than the rate of inflation. In other words, these people know that they will technically lose money by purchasing treasuries, but are willing to take the loss in order to avoid the possibility of an even greater loss in other investments like U.S. businesses, stocks, and the real-estate market.

Unfortunately, this time the bond market will not prove to be a safe haven. The structural problems in the U.S. economy and America’s massive debt load mean that the dollar is doomed too.
Those were terrible days. The crisis was very severe. But Morley is wrong about the federal debt being a problem. It is impossible for a government to default on public debt denominated in its own currency. The US government is not going to default. Six years later it has not. Actually, when you account for inflation, US federal debt is actually lower then what it was during the 1940s. And no one worried about the US going bankrupt then.

December 13. ... Morley mocks economists who correctly foresaw that the US government would be able to get through the crisis.

Quotes Jeremy Clarkson with an alarmist column, but he was talking about Ireland. Ireland does not have a sovereign currency. It has the Euro. That is why it did get bailed out by the EU and the IMF. So its situation was very different and more severe then the US. The US was not in danger of that.

December 20. "How America Killed Itself" by Robert Morley, in which he inaccurately fear mongers that America has financially collapsed. Maybe he should tell the Taliban that. I'm sure they would love to know that.
But it won’t end there. The whole nation—head to toe—is sickened with debt. Federal, state, municipal, corporate, personal debt; America is maxed out. Trillions upon trillions. That debt is coming due!
Turns out America was not maxed out. Morley was wrong.
Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2009).
January 24. Morley says Social Security is bankrupt. Nonsense. ...
February 14. Morley incorrectly says America is bankrupt.
The United States faces catastrophic collapse no matter what President Obama does. The scale of America’s problems goes far beyond what an ever increasing number of trillions of dollars can patch over.

Here is the sad fact: U.S. taxpayers have committed $8.7 trillion to fixing the system, and we haven’t even made a noticeable dent!
Unfortunately Morley seems unaware of the difference between private debt and public debt. Morley seems unaware that no government can be forced to default on debt denominated in its own currency, as the US federal debt is. Morley seems unaware that, when accounting for inflation, the US federal debt is actually lower then what it was in the 1940s. ...

March 7. Morley again inaccurately saying that the US government is broke.
The government is broke. It was running massive deficits before the crisis ever struck. And now it is planning the biggest borrowing binge ever to bail out the irresponsible, inefficient and incompetent. The nation’s finances have been pushed beyond the point of recovery.
Then why are the prison guards still looking after the prisoners still in jail? Clearly Morley is wrong. ...

July 18. "Costly Health Care Reform" by Robert Morley. Here Morley talks about health care. He ends the article with these words.
In the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, and with the nation encumbered with the biggest debts in the history of the world, the national healthcare bill could easily push America over the edge.
Which is completely backwards from reality. In fact the expensive, private system of health insurance before President Obama was a severe drain upon the finances of many Americans. A lot of money paid for health insurance went to overhead costs instead of providing health care. That is why health care reform was so necessary and needed to be done.

But what does Morley recommend?
However, there is a solution to the health crisis. If you are interested, request a free copy of Herbert W. Armstrong’s booklet The Plain Truth About Healing.
That booklet insists that one should not use doctors or medicine to cure illnesses. Many of his followers have died prematurely because of HWA's anti-medicine superstition.
Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2010).
January 16.... "2010: The Make-Believe Recovery" by Robert Morley. Here Morley insists economic catastrophe is just around the corner.
Chapter two of America’s great economic crisis is about to unfold. The moral of the story is that the economy is not set to recover—at least not in any meaningful, lasting way. That is what the statistics say. More importantly, that is what God’s Word says.
....February 13. "Germany's Calculated Crisis" by Robert Morley. Here Morley discusses the crisis in Greece caused by Greece's use of the euro.

Remarkably Morley shows that he understands why Greece was in so much trouble at the time.
Typically, when a country takes on too much debt they devalue their currency by turning on the money printing presses and simply creating the currency to pay the bills. This of course upsets creditors, but at least the bills get paid. The economy also gets a short-term kick start because a devalued currency makes exported goods less expensive; thus foreigners buy more domestic products.

Greece, however, does not have this option. Since it is locked into the euro, it does not control the printing presses. Germany does.
Wonderful! You understand why Greece was in so much trouble at that time. The euro is the problem.

Why don't you understand that the US is not in that situation? That is how America can afford to spend its way out of recession, because it does control its own printing presses. Why don't you explain that to your readers when discussing the financial situation of the US? ...

February 28. ... "Greece's Mirror Image in America" by Robert Morley. Here Morley fear mongers that California is in as bad financial shape as Greece.
For example, comparing total California debt to total Greece debt is like comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges. Factoring in California’s share of the federal debt, its ratio is almost 90 percent. Greece’s debt-to-GDP measures at around 100 percent.

But when including America’s unfunded Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid liabilities into the equation, California’s state debt-to-GDP ratio soars to a stratospheric 400 percent.
Where are the mass strikes in California? That's right. There weren't any. Because PCG's writers have an agenda, namely getting people to panic and think only PCG can save them, spiritually and physically.

Also, contrary to Jacques and Morley's dire pronouncements Social Security is not in trouble.
April 10. ... "An Uncomfortable Fact About Oil" by Robert Morley. Here Morley says
Since coming to office, Mr. Obama has been confronted with an uncomfortable truth.

It is the fact that, going forward, it is going to become dramatically more difficult for America to obtain and secure the energy it needs—and sooner than most people realize. It is a truth that policy makers and politicians are afraid to publicly admit because the implications of an oil-constrained world affect everything from stock markets and food production to the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency. ...
So where is the oil going to come from? Not America. ...

Over the past week crude oil surged to a new 17-month highs—$86 per barrel. Better get used to it, sky-high oil prices may soon be here to stay.
What happened? Oil companies soon started using fracking techniques to acquire oil from previously inaccessible places. So oil prices did come down.

(Please note: This is not an endorsement of fracking. Frankly I am wonder if it should even be done having heard of the various concerns about it. Let's just say if someone was going to do that near where I lived I would do all I legally could to stop that.) ....
June 19. "The End of the Recession as We Know It" by Robert Morley. Here Morley tries once again to insist that America is on the verge of financial catastrophe.

The problem is that America has passed the financial point of no return. This country has reached debt-saturation. Borrowing and spending more money to fix a problem caused by too much borrowing and spending won’t fix anything. If you keep doing what you are doing, you will keep getting what you are getting.

The end of the recession is almost here. Next comes the depression.
Five years later we are still waiting for that depression. ...

July 24. ... "Is 'Sudden' Collapse Possible?" by Robert Morley. Here Morley cites a speculation of a historian who suggests that financial troubles may cause America to collapse in two years. Just two years.

Five years later we are still waiting. ...

November 13. ... "The Greatest Liquidation Event Ever" by Robert Morley. Here Morley fear mongers once again that America will go bankrupt, even though no government can be made "to default on debt denominated in its own currency".

November 20. "Is The Deficit Commission On To Something?" by Robert Morley. Here Morley once again insists America is about to go broke.
Forty percent of America’s current federal expenditures is borrowed. How long can you borrow 40 percent of your yearly salary on credit cards and personal loans before the interest payments leach the life out of you and you start defaulting?
Morley is comparing apples and oranges.

The US government can print more money. Ordinary people cannot do this.

How is it that Morley cannot understand such elementary things?
America’s national debt is already close to 90 percent of gross domestic product. By this time next year it could be approaching 100 percent, which is pretty close to European crisis levels.
Morley is comparing apples and oranges again.

Greece, Ireland and Portugal do not control their own currencies. They have the euro. The euro is controlled by the European Central Bank. The euro is the problem. Those Eurozone countries cannot print more money if necessary. The US can do this. So the US have much more options to manage its finances then those unfortunate countries in the Eurozone.
They know the danger facing the country. Will they be able to put aside differences and for once—just once—act for the welfare and benefit of the nation?

Don’t count on it. The recommendations are dead on arrival, pronounced former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. They are “simply unacceptable.”
One reason why Representative Pelosi did that is because Social Security is not in danger. At all.

Five years we are still waiting. ...
Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2011).
October 29. ... "The Great American Contraction" by Robert Morley. Here Morley once again fear mongers that the American economy is about to collapse.

November 26. ... "Plugging Our Own Economy" by Robert Morley. Here Morley makes, what is in hindsight, an amusing statement fantasizing about America discovering a new source of oil.
What if America discovered it had a Saudi Arabia worth of oil under its own soil? Guess what? We found that oil—rather, the Canadians did. It just needs a way to get to market. But strangely, America doesn’t know if it wants it or not.
Little did Morley know that later America would indeed discover a large, previously untapped source of oil. This was achieved by using the highly controversial practice of fracking in order to extract previously unobtainable deposits of oil. That is why oil has now lowered in price.
December 24. "Eat The Rich" by Robert Morley. Here Morley shares with the world has this stunning statement.
You might be shocked to learn that the typical homeless person standing on a street corner begging for money in Los Angeles is richer than the bottom 25 percent of Americans too. In fact, anyone who has a couple of dollars in his pocket and no debt has a greater net worth than one quarter of all Americans. That’s pretty sad.
I am shocked. Shocked to learn that Morley would minimize poverty in such a way.
Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2012).
January 7. ...  The Dollar Trap Is Sprung" by Robert Morley. Here Morley insists that signs of the American economy improving should be ignored.
One day—perhaps one day soon—America will wake up to find out that it has suddenly become Greece. Beware the dollar trap.
February 25. ... "America Is Looking A Lot Like Rome" by Robert Morley. Strange article that insists that calls to abolish the penny is a sign that America's currency is being somehow debased. Many currencies do not have a penny.

April 7. ... "Your House Will Never Recover Its Value" by Robert Morley.

April 14. "The Last Bubble" by Robert Morley. Here Morley once again insists that America is about to go bankrupt. We are still waiting.

April 28. ... "Argentina: Lesson for America" by Robert Morley. Here Morley says that Argentina has fallen apart and blames left wing policies. He never mentions that one reason why Argentina defaulted in 2001 was because its currency was pegged to the US dollar and this made it impossible for them to print more money to handle the debt. The US dollar is not in a similar bind and is not in danger of defaulting.

June 30. ... "America's Crash of 2013?" by Robert Morley. Too late, Morley. This is yet another false prophecy.

July 21. ... "The LIBOR Lie" by Robert Morley.
The LIBOR scandal may very well be the lie that breaks confidence in America and Britain.
Two and a half years later we can say the answer is, No.

November 10. ... "'They Can Print Money'" by Robert Morley. Here Morley is stunned to hear an official state the simple fact that the US Federal Government has the power to print money. That is where all US currency come from. But Morley thinks this is a bad thing.
Robert Morley in The Trumpet Weekly (2013).
March 9. ... "Dow Jones Sets New Record: Now What?" by Robert Morley. So the Dow Jones breaks the record and goes higher then it ever has. Morley has constantly insisted that the American economy is on the brink of collapse. So he goes into denial and insists it is not a sign that America is recovering from the crash of 2007-8.
The Dow Jones set a new record on Tuesday. Market commentators say this new record high is a big sign the economy is on the mend.
But is it possible that it signals something much more ominous?
The Dow Jones got even higher.
And so this collection of quotations come to an end.

And that is what Robert Morley, a man untrained in economics, have told his readers. Many of his readers will not know that he is not professionally trained in economics.


Now while one can criticize him for writing about economics as though he is an expert when he has no specialist training regarding economics it should also be noted that the leaders of PCG seem to have no problem letting a man of this sort write about economics to PCG members and potential recruits. PCG's leaders bear a certain responsibility for letting a man lacking in credentials write about economics in this way, stirring up unnecessary and largely exaggerated fear and alarm about the Federal Debt and Social Security. If he was educated in economics maybe he would not have made such errors.

But what cannot be similarly excused is how Robert Morley every now stirs up xenophobia among his readers as may be seen in the following excerpts. This seems rather hypocritical considering that he himself came from Saskatchewan, Canada and migrated to America.

October 17. "The Battle for Britain Begins" by Robert Morley.
Sixty-nine years later, London is under attack again. Only this time, the Huns are burning it economically.
Yes. Morley, in a time of peace, referred to Germans as "the Huns" in that article.

The article ends with these words.
Hundreds of thousands of British gave their lives during the war to prevent this very thing. Germany is conquering Britain without even firing a shot. ...
November 27. "Rule al Britannia" by Robert Morley. (Does this title even make sense?) Here Morley fear mongers about immigration into Britain by Muslims accusing their children of being taught values antithetical to Western values.
If you are a politician, be careful who you offend because you just might represent a district composed primarily of Poles, or Roma, or Sudanese, or Pakistanis, or Cambodians. Who then do you really represent? Do you represent the British interest, or the interest of some other people?
Morley, you don't even live in Britain. And what's wrong with representing an electorate predominantly composed of Poles, Roma, Sudanese, Pakistanis, Cambodians or any other ethnicity? What xenophobic drivel.
February 12. "The Spark That Lit Egypt" by Robert Morley. Here Morley tries to blame crops for ethanol production for causing the Egyptian revolution. But while speaking about that Morley reveals an extremely ugly side to how PCG's writers view the peoples of the Middle East.
Food shortages are the stuff of revolutions. Unfortunately, the history of the Middle East shows that, contrary to what President Bush might have hoped, moderate democracies do not result. Instead, it is the radical extremists that get power: The shah is replaced by the Ayatollah; Hezbollah is voted in to take over Lebanon; Hamas wins in Gaza; and now the Muslim Brotherhood will have their chance in Egypt.  
In the Middle East—democracy just takes power from strongmen who work with America and hands it to thugs that want to destroy America.
I find this opinion deeply offensive. These words seem to indicate that Morley thinks that Arabs and Iranians are simply unable to rule themselves and somehow 'need' US approved strongmen (dictators) 'for their own good'. It is as though Morley thinks (dark skinned) Arabs and Iranians are like children who 'need' a (white) parent.

This arrogant attitude has caused so much pain and suffering to so many people all over the world. It is wrong that such bigoted ideas continue to be spread.

It would even seem that someone at PCG, maybe even Morley himself, realized this was too far as the article as presented on the website has been rewritten in a less derogatory way. There the relevant passage in written in a less inflammatory way as may be seen here.
Food shortages are the stuff of revolutions. Unfortunately, the history of the Middle East shows that, contrary to what President Bush might have hoped, moderate democracies do not result. Instead, it is the radical extremists that get power—and that is not good news for America or the little nation of Israel.

And to think PCG lets one untrained in economics scare PCG members and potential recruits into thinking America will soon collapse.

1 comment:

  1. Incompetence has no bounds.

    First Herbert Armstrong didn't graduate from high school but became chancellor to his own incompetence making college and now this.

    The Armstrongist approach: If you don't know anything, just make something up, you know, like throwing spaghetti at a wall and see what sticks.