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Merle Hazard Sings His Way Through the Recession

Gary North
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May 16, 2009

Merle Hazard is not an Okie from Muscogee. But he has a real sense of what country music stars would sing about the economy if they understood economic theory. He does understand it.

Country music is about unrequited love. That's what this economy is about, too. Country music is about pain. That's this economy. Country music is about money, and the lack thereof. Think of Elvis's Money, Honey. Think of Hank Thompson's classic version of If You've Got the Money, Honey, I've Got the Time. I thought his version set the standard, but then I heard Hank Paulson's.

Merle takes on the issue of inflation or deflation and the Federal Reserve System. He lays it out as clearly as anyone has . . . in under three minutes.

I also appreciate his singing partner, Bretton Wood.

Theory is one thing. Reality is another. Things that look like winners in one market turn out to be losers in another. This is the message of H-E-D-G-E.

Some people don't like country music. As they say, there's no accounting for taste. With the decision of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in early April to abandon mark-to-market accounting, there's no accounting for capital, either. That's the message of Merle and Bretton in Mark to Market.


In an economy based on government bailouts, the question arises: "Who? Whom?" Here, Merle sings a heartfelt lament about the folks who get no respect: Masters of the Universe, emeriti. In the Hamptons will brings tears to the eyes of an entire class of besieged and unappreciated people: the uptrodden.

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