Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Howard S. Katz, RIP
My old friend and former business associate, Howard S. Katz, has died according to Kitco.com and Zionist Gold Report (h/t Glenda McGee). Zionist Gold Report cites an obituary in the Nashua Telegraph.
>According to an obituary in New Hampshire’s daily newspaper, Nashua Telegraph, Howard S. Katz, a long-time commentator on Kitco.com passed away on Dec. 23, 2010 at the age of 72. Howard was a financial analyst and editor-in-chief of The One-Handed Economist and the former Gold Bug Newsletters. He was born in Providence, and had lived in New Hampshire for 10 years.
>His biography on Kitco.com states that he was one of the early gold bugs of the late ‘60s and ‘70s, turning bullish on gold in 1965. He turned increasingly skeptical about gold as it mounted its final rise in 1979, and he called the top after the close on Jan. 21, 1980 (with gold at $825.50/oz.). Howard was also the head of the Committee to Establish the Gold Standard and worked with Congressman Ron Paul for the passage of the American eagle gold coin bill of 1986.
>He published several newsletters; The Speculator (1964- 1972), The Gold Bug (1973-1986) and The One- handed Economist (1996-present). He is also the author of three published books on money: The Paper Aristocracy (1976), The Warmongers (1979) and Honest Money – Now! (1979).
In the late 1970s, before I moved to California to attend the UCLA Graduate School of Management, I was the treasurer of Katz's Committee to Establish the Gold Standard. At the time Howard lived in a small apartment on Fourth Avenue in lower Manhattan. I worked with him on his congressional campaign bid in Manhattan (I may have been his only staff member). I was learning to drive at the time, and Howard gave me a few tips. Although he came in near last in the race he spread the pro-gold message. Ronald Reagan was elected a year or two later. The end of the late 1970s' high inflation, as Howard liked to emphasize, was the product of the Carter administration, not the Reagan administration. President Carter had appointed Paul Volcker, who adopted monetarist Fed policies. Volcker's policies popped the Keynesian stagflation of the 1970s that followed upon Richard M. NIxon's pronouncement that “we are all Keynesians now”; the out-of-control public sector unionism in New York and elsewhere; and the monetary policy-induced inflation of the late 1960s and 1970s. But, as Howard also frequently emphasized, Reagan renewed the inflationary pattern through the Keynesian supply sider argument.
Howard had been a member of the Free Libertarian Party in Manhattan prior to my joining it in 1977. A few years ago Howard gave me his unpublished manuscript Wolf in Sheep's Clothing that I have yet to review. I had reviewed a draft of his revised "Paper Aristocracy" which I do not believe was re-published. Paper Aristocracy is out of print but sometimes used copies are available at Amazon.com.
I recall clearly his visiting Congressman Ron Paul in the late 1970s to discuss gold issues with him. Hence, Katz has influenced Paul's pro-hard money ideas today. Katz unquestionably has influenced national debate on monetary policy and renewed public concern about the Federal Reserve Bank.
Before any one else in post World War II America, Katz emphasized the Jacksonian insight that the central bank is a redistribution mechanism from poor to rich. Hence, the Keynesian claim that the Fed helps labor and small business is pap. He claimed that economists and advocates of progressivism fall into two categories: the smart dissemblers who are manipulating the system to their and Wall Street's advantage, such as Alan Greenspan, and the vast majority of useful idiots, economists who actually believe the Keynesian theory.
Howard made similar points about the Fabian socialism of people like Sidney and Beatrice Webb, namely, that their socialist ideologies were a "wolf in sheep's clothing." He argued that there are two categories of advocates of destructive socialist policies: those who actually believe them, the majority of useful idiots, and those who understand their vicious implications and use them to gain power.
I lost contact with Howard when I attended UCLA in 1979. In 2004 or so in the face of impending gold price increases I spent several weeks attempting to renew contact and tracked him down in Nashua. At the time, he published his newsletter, the One Handed Economist, via Xeroxing. I suggested that he start a small website, which we did after a year or two of deliberation. He asked a different friend to run his website about two years ago. Also, he changed the name to "the Gold Speculator."
Howard had a tremendous effect on many libertarians' and gold advocates’ thinking. He will be sorely missed.