Re: We're all * now

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From: Matt Jensen (
Date: Wed Sep 20 2000 - 11:23:02 PDT

Robert, thanks for the memory trigger! I've heard the Nixon quote and
the Trinity-era quote, which was confusing me. It actually jumped in my
mind that "we're all * now" might have been Richard Nixon saying "We're
all sons of bitches now", which is a plausible quote, but the kind of
quote you'd hear from Nixon every day, rather than something epochal.

Once you throw "Nixon" into the search string with "we're all now", all
kinds of references come up. There are plenty of economists who cite
Nixon on this, with either "We are" or "We're". One example is Robert
Reich's biography of Keynes in The TIME 100: Scientists & Thinkers (of the
20th Century).

But economists differ (surprise, surprise) on whether he really said it:

"this quote is attributed incorrectly to nixon. it was spoken by a cabinet
member after nixon called for the wage and price freeze and took the u.s.
off the gold standard in aug. of 71. i think."

and the reply:
"Stein, Herbert. 1984. Presidential Economics: The Making of Economic
Policy (NY: Simon and Schuster). 135: "in January 1971 ... on the occasion
of submitting his budget, he [Nixon] proudly announced, "Now I am a
Keynesian"." Lynn Turgeon once gave me a New York Times reference to
Nixon's quotation, but I did not find it there."

( won't let me search in the 1970s, even if I pay them.)

Similarly, if you search on "we are all keynesians now milton friedman,"
you also find plenty of Friedman references, including the explanation in
Tom's post. And searching on "we're all now oppenheimer bomb" brings the
quote from Trinity. I don't know why I didn't try that hunch out

I find this a fascinating search question. Here you have two historically
important quotations, but they're almost unreachable on the Web unless you
know the missing word or have the context of who said it or where. As far
as search engines are concerned, only the missing * word has any real
value. Perhaps Nexis would let you perform this search, but I haven't
found a (free) search engine that would. Yet Robert got the Nixon quote
(apocryphal or not) right away.

Maybe search engines shouldn't be throwing out all those stopwords after


On Wed, 20 Sep 2000 wrote:

> In a message dated 9/19/2000 11:52:18 PM, writes:
> >One possibility: "We are all Keynesians now", which I've seen
> >attributed to Richard Nixon
> this (from a source I definitely cannot vouch for, The Gold Standard: A
> Critique of Friedman, Mundell, Hayek and Greenspan from the Free Enterprise
> Perspective by Walter Block, Economics Department, University of Central
> Arkansas. Conway AR 72035
> might
> be the correct attribution of We are all Keynsians now.
> Tom
> 16. Objections might be levelled at the claim that this is Keynesian and not
> ‘monetarist." Although most debates on this and
> related topics in the professional literature have been between these two
> purported schools of thought, nothing of the kind is
> true. But both monetarists and fiscalists employ the Keynesian model of
> aggregate demand. Therefore, these controversies
> are more of an internecine battle than a disagreement between two separate
> philosophies. As Friedman himself says, "we are
> all Keynesians now" (cited in Samuelson, 1970, p. 193).
> As it happens, Friedman objects that he has been quoted out of
> context (personal correspondence). His full statement
> on this matter as follows: "If by Keynesianisn you mean public policy
> prescriptions of big government budgets, deficit
> spending, etc., then there are great differences between we monetarists and
> the Keynesians; but if you mean utilization of the
> same tools of economic analysis, then we are all Keynesians now" (paraphrase,
> based on personal conversation). For some
> purposes, one is inclined to take the Friedman side in his altercation with
> Samuelson. But for our public policy purposes, the
> alternative view has its attractions.

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