The IMF to the Rescue?

A Washington Post article (4/23/10) about the International Monetary Fund focused on the advice it is offering for the United States. The piece notes that this is somewhat unusual. Even stranger, though, is the Post‘s description of IMF officials as folks who “have a long history of stabilizing economies and solving global financial problems.”

This might come as news to those who’ve been on the receiving end of the IMF’s advice. As economist Dean Baker put it at his Beat the Press blog (which has a new home at cepr.net–bookmark it!):

Back in the ’90s, the IMF came to be known as the “Typhoid Mary” of emerging markets as its policy prescriptions led to sharp economic downturns in one country after another. It tried to impose a harsh austerity plan on Argentina in 2001 and did everything it could to sabotage its economy when the country refused to go along. Its sabotage effort included economic growth projections that were likely politically motivated, since they consistently under-projected growth. This would have the effect of scaring away potential efforts. By contrast, the IMF consistently over-projected Argentina’s growth in the years when it was following policies recommended by the IMF.

About Peter Hart

Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.