Grant Williams in Conversation with David Stockman

Featuring David Stockman

From the ultimate insider as Ronald Reagan’s Director at the Office of Management and Budget to establishment pariah for his harsh criticism of the United States’ finances, David Stockman has been at the nexus of money and politics for over 40 years. With both the country’s politics and Donald Trump’s planned budget deficits firmly at the center of the financial world, David (who writes at “David Stockman’s Contra Corner”) takes us inside the political machine to help us understand the process and handicap potential outcomes. Filmed on April 9, 2018 in New York.

Published on
27 April, 2018
Fiscal Policy, US Economy, Politics
91 minutes
Asset class


  • BC

    Burton C.

    15 10 2018 01:46

    1       0

    I went back and watched this again today (Oct 14 2018) I wanted to review for my notes...simply blown away. The vast view from horizon to horizon from Bretton Woods to today comes clearly into focus. Notice he said that by October $60b/mo will be dropping off of the FEDs balance sheet and will have repercussions. You got that right David!

    David is a national treasure yet so few care to listen to him

  • HJ

    Harry J.

    7 10 2018 22:39

    0       0

    Grant are you still a gold bull?

  • GR

    George R.

    16 8 2018 20:08

    0       0

    This is why I subscribe.

  • wm

    willem m.

    9 8 2018 07:06

    0       0

    Simply amazing Grant! Thx Willem

  • PT

    Patrick T.

    9 6 2018 19:28

    0       0

    Grant - bravo!

  • GO

    Glenn O.

    23 5 2018 04:03

    5       2

    After listening to the logic of David’s thought process how can anyone dispute the inevitable outcome. The real question is how will the great unwashed who have no clue of the issues deal with the economic and political outcome. My real fear is that we will experience a sharp and violent turn to the political left. The government will make everything better. I believe that the general population will rise up and demand the government fix a problem that the government is incapable of solving.
    Bring on socialism. What a sad end.

  • WG

    Wade G.

    9 5 2018 03:50

    8       0

    David Stockman is a national treasure. I'd challenge any would-be detractor to read Triumph and Deformation and conclude otherwise. Thanks for an outstanding interview Grant. Maybe you could get Mr. Stockman to do periodic updates on political developments/markets.

  • WB

    William B.

    8 5 2018 05:27

    3       0

    Amazing interview.. How little did I know or appreciate about what was going on in the late sixties, seventies and eighties even though I was a good student and an Econ major in the mid-sixties at a State College in California. Maybe it was just me or the Keynesian economic theory they taught. I didn’t buy their theories but got good point is this interview has taught me more about economic history from 1971 on as well as about the real people who made history no flaws omitted.. I’ve always felt Greenspan was guilty for abandoning sound money policies and Volcker has never gotten credit for the good he did for our country. I still believe the Federal Reserve should never have been created.. Maybe people will start to consider the disasters the FED has created for our country, especially their cowardice in 1971 , 1987, 2008, and the coming crisis of all time..

  • JH

    Jesse H.

    3 5 2018 23:24

    3       1

    Enjoyed this interview, though would have liked to see Grant play devil's advocate a bit more. David's political experience is very interesting in that it gives him insight into the way that economics is used (and abused) for political purposes. Largely agree with David's view on the way the future is headed, but I think one large omission was present in his analysis: the reason for such a departure from "sound money" policy and fiscal discipline was a systematic concentration of power in the hands of too few by special interest groups and corporations and a fundamentally poor design of the US political system to allow for an entrenchment of power rather than a diffusion of such power back to ordinary people.

    On this note, would love to see the Harvard economist Michael Porter interviewed - he has done some truly excellent work around how the political system in the US has to change so that key issues, including economic / financial matters, can be adequately addressed.

    One thing that bothered me about this interview was the lingering question of how a man who seems to be a passionate (if whiny) advocate of fiscal discipline and an avowed critic of Wall Street turned around after his tenure at the Reagan administration and worked in the LBO space. The optics are bad at best; at worst, it smacks of hypocrisy. The adage, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is curiously the opposite of a loner with integrity, which David seems to be. A wise man once said that those things we hate most and are most vocal about are the flaws which we struggle with ourselves. I wonder if that is the case here.

  • VM

    Vincent M.

    3 5 2018 18:53

    1       6

    Love everything about Grant's interviewing style. The thing that is annoying is Stockman comes off as seeing himself as the only smart guy in the room. His points are well made and argued ( and sadly I agree with most of them) but he just comes off as both arrogant and petty.

    Great work Grant !

  • AB

    AJ B.

    3 5 2018 17:21

    0       16

    The guy who helps lead the Regan administration in the 30's calling people in the Trump administration "unqualified". What a hypocrite. He reeks like a pretentious know-it-all. Only he has the answers.

    Worst Grant Williams interview ever. Grant doesn't push back much, but this level of no pushback was egregious.

  • JM

    Jared M.

    3 5 2018 13:36

    2       0

    Fantastic, thank you both.

  • DS

    Darryl S.

    3 5 2018 10:25

    1       0

    The exasperation, the helplessness, the resignation to just vacating the space. Of course, there are options to take. This forms the inherent value in this conversation. Thanks

  • DS

    David S.

    2 5 2018 20:59

    2       0

    Most of the QE ended up in wealthy hands. They are spending, but a paltry amount of the total. This leaves a huge amount of money to be invested in stocks and bonds. Add to this the billions in pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and multiple expansion of leverage, it should be expected that this money will cause much higher stock prices and much lower bond prices. I agree with the direction that Mr. Stockman is suggesting, but all this wealth has nowhere else to go. It will stay in the market and mitigate the decrease in the stock prices and the increase in bond prices. Hopefully higher interest rates will diminish some of the leveraging over time. DLS

  • DS

    David S.

    2 5 2018 20:46

    7       0

    The Baby Boomers and their employers paid for their Social Security It was funded. Congress with presidential approval has been " borrowing" from the Social Security Fund like a funding bucket to pay for programs that Congress did not fund but needed to buy votes and support special interests.. Social Security is not an entitlement program. DLS

  • JH

    Joseph H.

    2 5 2018 17:07

    4       0

    The funny thing is that all this bubble finance has produced a return on SPY, with reinvested dividends, of 5.61% per year since the year 2000. That's pre-tax, pre-fees/expenses. Adjusted for inflation 3.36%. Gobs of money printed, the real cost of money essentially free for who knows how many of the last 220 months and the wealth effect the Fed has so desperately tried to conjure up has not yet materialized. Unless you consider 440 basis points of underperformance relative to historical averages as mission accomplished.

  • TS

    Tyler S.

    1 5 2018 20:20

    2       9

    I love when draft dodgers make out so well....

  • F

    Floyd .

    30 4 2018 23:17

    11       0

    i think one of the reasons we subscribe to this service is to hear something other than the happy talk and clueless game shows that the business shows have become.

  • VS

    Victor S.

    30 4 2018 16:03

    5       0

    Pro’s virtually universally agree the crash will happen. No one knows when is the only issue? Timing in our business is everything however. But his analysis was profound and right on.

  • V!

    Volatimothy !.

    30 4 2018 14:15

    4       0

    Don’t be surprised to hear talk of a world currency in the next couple years.

  • CM

    C M.

    30 4 2018 13:16

    16       1

    ON MSM TV, Stockman is brought out as the crazy uncle warning about the end of the world for ratings and entertainment purposes. In this interview, Stockman was the antithesis of the MSM "interviews"--he was measured, well-reasoned, and articulate. I am glad this interview was conducted and I watched it. Bravo!

  • KS

    Kathleen S.

    30 4 2018 02:40

    23       0

    I agree with everything David Stockman says, how could you not - the truth has been screaming at us for years. The middle class has been getting screwed since the 1970's taking on bigger and bigger debt, while the 1% runs aways with all the money and the poor are appeased - for most part silenced by giving them welfare and food stamps. What kind of responsible government does the things Stockman describes and where is the press in reporting to American people as to WHY Nixon took US off gold standard. Why was no major media outlets telling Americans that their country was bankrupt due to Vietnam War and Social Entitlements? WHY was the press complicit??? Looking at this whole thing from a larger context one has to wonder - Why is it that a "kid" with no economics degree or experience seems to be able to understand sound money, while all his superiors "just don't get it"??? Stockman describes the whole fiasco as a comedy of errors and men in positions of power as dufeses, weak, or they just don't understand economics (Charles Shutlz graduated with a degree in economics from Princeton University - but according to Stockman he knew nothing about money?). Grant Williams actually gushes that it is so hard to believe that these guys know nothing about sound money. I wish when Stockman left government in 1985 he would have told the American people what was really happening, that their country was heading down the wrong road and that it would have dire consequences, but no he didn't do that -- he himself goes to Wall Street and to places like Salomon Brothers where the scam of securitzation was invented and then on to private equity and using this very debt he rails against to do Leverage Buy Outs -- WOW. So since 2008 Stockman has been sounding the alarm, glad to hear it, but it is a little to little a little too late. The amount of pain this next crisis is going to cause hard working American people is unimaginable, so many lives are going to be destroyed. I am just a middle class person and the anger I have towards our government and our leaders makes me want to scream. Unlike Stockman I do not believe we got to 22 trillion in debt and counting by a comedy of errors - we got here because debt is the weapon multinational bankers and corporations are using to take the US down and this was the plan all along.

  • VP

    Vincent P.

    30 4 2018 01:17

    4       0

    Just awesome. Albeit financially tragic, I long for David's day of reckoning!!

  • SS

    Steven S.

    29 4 2018 23:38

    1       1

    Well, at least the Deadhead fans ( the people who use to follow the Greatfull Dead band on their tours) know that the reason the States are legalising marijuana is because the State(s) do not have enough money to keep so many people in jail. I read about it in John Mauldins book called "Code Red."

    Let try forming a European Union for the Western Hemisphere.

  • je

    james e.

    29 4 2018 18:19

    10       0

    I typically take notes on each talk. All I wrote down for this one was, "we're screwed". Fascinating discussion which I wish had ended with the question, "So, David, where do you put your money". Great job, Grant, again and again.

  • RB

    Richard B.

    29 4 2018 16:41

    5       1

    Fabulous. Thank you.

  • DW

    David W.

    29 4 2018 14:52

    13       1

    Grant, you continue to be the consumate interviewer. Unlike many, you always get the best out of your contributors. You lead, you prompt yet the emphasis is always on your guest, never on yourself. Excellent!

  • SR

    Steve R.

    29 4 2018 09:54

    8       0

    Your closing comments Grant sum up the position perfectly. The raised voices against those who know what is going on and how it will likely end will continue to grow louder as there is only solace to be found in collective destruction. The stakes are now (globally) so high, with the mantra "we're all in it together", combined with the huge influences from vested interests, ensure the future path for capitalism will be far from an easy one. The current situation will continue until one day it doesn't - and then it's all over. It just depends on who makes the first move, and when. It's better to be 2 years too early, than 2 minutes too late.
    Brilliant interview!

  • BR

    Bernard R.

    29 4 2018 09:45

    2       1

    WOW! Grant hit it out of the ball park again! Someone'd better listen to Mr. David Stockman fast. The swamp in Washington is so deep, so clueless and detached that only a Major Crisis ...might... finally knock some fiscal common sense and responsibility to our elected officials. Jerome Powell is a totally new sheriff in town...he has seen the abuses of the FED during the irresponsible tenure of Janet Yellen no doubt about its that she manipulated the VIX which blew up the first day of Mr Powell's term... Both President Trump and Mr Powell know that we need a crisis/schock /reset without which nothing will change. Grant is right that it might happen sooner than most think. Will interest rates blow up before or after the mid term election?

  • rr

    rlw r.

    29 4 2018 04:58

    5       0

    Grant maintains his high batting average in his series of interviews with really interesting guests.
    David maintains as the 'voice in the wilderness' his consistent message of concern.
    Thank you gentlemen.

  • RA

    Robert A.

    29 4 2018 03:48

    6       0

    Another great interview by Grant and as another RV’er noted a paucity of questions and direction/redirection by Grant somehow resulted in the most on point and focused presentation by David I have ever seen. I love his work but he is so ferverent and harried sometimes in his presentation that his message can get lost or diluted—Grant did an outstanding job with him, IMO.

  • sm

    sayit m.

    29 4 2018 02:32

    1       0

    Great Interview.
    What will happen to USD during that type of historic financial reset period, giving the financial condition we are in now which David described?

  • GO

    Gary O.

    29 4 2018 01:18

    3       0

    Grant, great track of questions to see the inside of our government from the outside.

    Keep up the great interviews, we can't get enough!

  • MB

    Matt B.

    28 4 2018 21:42

    1       0

    Phenomenally informative and a précis of why every good Financial conservative should be worried by the King of Zeev’s, Default and Lawsuits.

  • Sv

    Sid v.

    28 4 2018 21:27

    2       0

    Grant, i feel like I have come to know you. Thank you for the great work! again!

  • PD

    Peter D.

    28 4 2018 21:14

    12       0

    This was a priceless interview. Possibly the best ever on Real Vision.

    Stockman is of course one of the most brilliant government, financial and market thinkers out there.
    But he is much better in print than he is verbally.

    Grant changed all that, by sitting back, and slowing Stockman down, so us regular folk could keep up with him.

    Ninety minutes was not enough though.

    We'll just have to keep hitting that rewind button until Part II is ready.

  • SS

    Sam S.

    28 4 2018 19:55

    5       0

    How about some ideas to protect ourselves from the coming meltdown??? Not only on a personal basis but an investment basis!
    Top Notch interview! I just purchased a First Edition Henry Kaufman book signed to David Stockman, Interest Rates, The Markets, and the New Financial World. Can wait to read this as it ties together with this video.

  • T~

    Tshort63 ~.

    28 4 2018 18:33

    8       1

    Would love to watch a series moderated by Dr. Pipa with Harald Malmgren and David Stockman as panelists. Historical government and economic insight from participants would be educational and fascinating.

  • WP

    William P.

    28 4 2018 17:59

    9       1

    Great. Now can you get Paul Craig Roberts?

  • DP

    David P.

    28 4 2018 17:33

    18       0

    I read just about everything that David Stockman writes, so I started to listen to this interview suspecting that he would not be able to add much to what I already knew about his thinking. Was I ever wrong!

    Stockman systematically obliterates the prevailing bullish narrative with a simultaneous mastery of the numbers and an unmatched historical political perspective. His analysis confirms the worst suspicions of the skeptics and the fears of the bears: the past decade has just been one last monstrous heave of the deficit spending begun by Reagan and the interest rate manipulation begun by by Greenspan, and now the time has come, and the piper will be paid.

    Thank you, Mr. Stockman, for you relentless exposure of the painful realities of our time, and thank you, Grant, for your intelligent and courteous interviewing style, which brings out the best in your guests.

    One last comment: I hope RV has taken steps to secure these interviews? I believe you are in the process of creating an important historical record.

  • RM

    Russell M.

    28 4 2018 15:36

    3       0

    A terrific interview by Grant. And a gripping description of the predicament we are in now and how we got there. The points occurred to me that I would have liked to see expounded upon further:

    1. When the QT and government bond issuance start to drive up interest rates, if the markets tank and the Federal budget is decimated by unexpected and unbearable extra interest rate expense, it will create turmoil as David said. But why won't we just become Japan by the Fed vacuuming up debt to drive down interest rates. I guess his expectation is that it will be too late. But why couldn't the markets rebound on the expectation that the status quo will be maintained (even at the cost of undermining the efficiency of the markets even further, a cost the Fed and the markets do not appear to recognize); and

    2. With respect to the Baby Boomer retirement impacting economic productivity while demanding more government payments, why couldn't that problem be solved with robotics and AI advances increasing work force productivity to pick up the slack? There have been rapid advances in this area. An examination of the AI revolution from that perspective would be a welcome topic.

  • RM

    Ryan M.

    28 4 2018 14:51

    10       0

    Absolutely amazing interview. David Stockman speaks so eloquently, yet every word is understood. His book reads the same way. How anyone can discredit this man is beyond me. The collective heads are buried in the sand.

  • MK

    Mike K.

    28 4 2018 14:28

    2       0

    Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

  • PP

    Patrick P.

    28 4 2018 11:43

    5       2

    I guess the real story is how a theology major at Harvard is qualified to run the OMB. But then again it's probably going to take someone close to the almighty to get us out of this mess.

  • RB

    Ron B.

    28 4 2018 11:30

    9       0

    Excellent interview, thanks. I would love to hear a follow-up where Stockman explains in detail what happens during the reset, and importantly, how to protect one's assets.

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    28 4 2018 09:35

    3       2

    So would David trade long dollar or a long gold from now on waiting for the crash?

  • SH

    Steve H.

    28 4 2018 09:27

    0       0

    Great interview - both parties clearly very impressive.

    Off-piste question: why when I hit the thumbs-up button did the number rise instantly from 159 to 166? I've noticed this tendency right across RealVision, but never before have I apparently been worth so many extra votes. Now I know how Zuckerberg feels at stockholder meetings.

  • PB

    Pieter B.

    28 4 2018 08:39

    0       0

    Thanks a lot Grant & David!

  • TH

    Timo H.

    28 4 2018 06:44

    2       0

    Give a wise man time and you get wisdom in exchange.

  • SZ

    SALEH Z.

    28 4 2018 03:30

    2       0

    Its remarkable how much research Grant must have to do before interviewing his guests - great stuff

  • SA

    Sasha A.

    28 4 2018 02:05

    5       0

    Terrific interview and Grant does an amazing job drawing his guests out. Keep them coming guys!

  • MI

    Madhu I.

    28 4 2018 01:14

    2       0

    Follow up on what he thinks as to how this might play out

  • CH

    Curtis H.

    27 4 2018 23:25

    12       0

    This was a great interview. Could we have part 2 be what David thinks will happen. Given human (cruel) nature, what is this 'Reset' going to entail?

  • SH

    Stu H.

    27 4 2018 21:40

    9       0

    There's an opportunity here, I don't find it bleak or depressing. For a select few astute professionals they'll time the inevitable calamity to perfection and probably profit handsomely. For the rest of us we can protect ourselves and hopefully preserve ours and our children's financial futures, we'll fair better than the 99.9% who don't bother to educate themselves thanks to invaluable services like RV. Great interview, Grant. Love the series, keep it up!

  • HO

    H2 O.

    27 4 2018 19:56

    2       0

    Great stuff Grant. Thank you.

  • DD

    Daniel D.

    27 4 2018 19:05

    4       0

    Grant is an extraordinary interviewer and RV is really giving us some great content. Very refreshing to hear from an experienced political/financial participant on our recent history which provides context to where we may be heading. Also, the fact that David isn't selling something provides even more credibility. Well done!

  • TJ

    Terry J.

    27 4 2018 18:52

    3       0

    What a fantastic history lesson from a man with such a wealth of experience and knowledge. It is criminal and crazy that this century's American governments have not tapped into his expertise to avoid slipping further and further down the debt vortex! David's description of the Federal Reserve as a monster is spot on, but I don't for one minute believe the creature from Jekyll Island will continue its QT and normalisation of interest rates once Wall Street begins to really crash. But it won't matter in any case, since as David says this time the tsunami of debt will sweep all before it including the fiat dollar, and once all the pain and disruption is over, we can hopefully finally return to real honest money in the form of gold.

  • MH

    Mark H.

    27 4 2018 18:21

    27       0

    In the past I've seen Mr. Stockman being interviewed on the major media shows. Those interviews were a waste of my time and probably Mr. Stockman's time as well. With Real Vision's Stockman interview, (along with countless others) Real Vision and Grant Williams live up to their promise of providing their viewers with insightful, useful, and interesting content.

  • SW

    Scott W.

    27 4 2018 15:40

    15       0

    I'll buy it. But then again I bought it 5 yrs ago. I'm running out of time for this "reset"!

    Seriously though, this is the sort of macro macro analysis that would perhaps be a good debate/discussion with Prof. Sylla or the like - see whether they'd proffer why/how there WON'T be a major reckoning.

  • KM

    Kevin M.

    27 4 2018 15:16

    8       0

    Thank you R.V. I have now seen the future. Nobody will EVER be able to say that no one saw it coming...

  • RM

    Richard M.

    27 4 2018 15:15

    9       0

    Great discussion. David Stockman is one of the lone voices of reason out there. Such realism, which unfortunately leads to so many depressing thoughts. [Although I suppose great times are ahead for the really sharp short sellers who can time it just right!]

  • TH

    Thomas H.

    27 4 2018 14:40

    9       0

    Thanks for the history lesson.

  • RK

    Robert K.

    27 4 2018 14:03

    3       0


  • RM

    Russell M.

    27 4 2018 12:23

    35       0

    good interview performance for grant not projecting a view but quietely tickling the guest to give his view freely.