Economics

"With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true."

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As Nick Gillespie noted Monday, Nobel Prize-winner and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman claims that only a "dishonest flack" would dare say anything bad about the so-called stimulus bill. Well, more than 200 distinguished economists, including Nobel Laureates James Buchanan, Edward Prescott, and Vernon Smith, beg to differ. They've signed an open letter opposing the bailout that appears in today's New York Times. From their letter:

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan's "lost decade" in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

Read the whole thing here.

NEXT: Whatever It Is, They're Against It

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  1. If alien superbeings, noted for being the greatest economists in the entire universe, landed on Earth and told Congress that this bill would destroy America in a year, the bill would still get passed.

  2. “Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

    What is so hard to understand about that?

    Obama says he wants to rise above partisan politics, and he mentioned in his address to eliminate government programs than are not effective. That should eliminate most of the stimulus bill right there.

  3. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

    Congress: Awwww. Where’s the fun in THAT??

  4. If alien superbeings, noted for being the greatest economists in the entire universe, landed on Earth and told Congress that this bill would destroy America in a year, the bill would still get passed.

    And joe would still defend it on this thread.

  5. Pro Lib, that’s what the large greys told me…

  6. And joe would still defend it on this thread.

    I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him hilarious.

  7. To improve the economy, policymakers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

    KRAAYZEEEE TAAAAAAALK!!

    Somebody please make it stop!

    *sticks fingers in ears*

    LALALALALALALALALA!

  8. Impressed that one of my profs signed this thing.

  9. Mine too…I knew that good ol’ R.A. Lawson would come through for me.

  10. The economists quoted in the article make perfect sense to me, too. But why, then, does almost everyone with any power in Washington go completely the opposite way? Are they really stupid? Am I missing some persuasive counter-argument? Do the powers-that-be really not care? I’m not cynical enough to believe that.

    My guess is that there simply isn’t an incentive for the politicians to “get it right,” since (a) the stimulus package presents an opportunity to reward contributors, and (b) no one will blame the stimulus package if things get worse, as is likely.

  11. I’m really glad the ad pointed out that the New Deal had its genesis in Hoover’s policies.

  12. madmikefisk | January 28, 2009, 11:50am | #
    Impressed that one of my profs signed this thing.

    The Angry Optimist | January 28, 2009, 11:52am | #
    Mine too…I knew that good ol’ R.A. Lawson would come through for me.

    Teacher’s pets.

    ;^p

  13. “Am I missing some persuasive counter-argument? Do the powers-that-be really not care? I’m not cynical enough to believe that.”

    They do not care. Well, they do care such that they win elections, which means bringing home as much bacon (pun intended) as possible. They don’t care if the package does not work, so long as they appear as if they’ve “done something”. They’ll blame the failure of the stimulus on not being “enough”, the weather, or libertarians.

  14. We won and you lost, so suck on it!
    Nyah nyah nyah!

  15. Who cares what Krugman thinks? He’s an economist much in the same way that Greenspan was an economist; say things that sooth, reassure and aggrandize politicians and you shall never want for anything!

  16. But think how much WORSE things would have been without the government intervention in the 30s and in Japan!

    Isn’t that the standard counter to this argument? Joe? Back me on this?

    How many whacks are they gonna take at this before they realize that their ‘stimulus’ has zero effect on the economy? We had $180 billion early last year, the Bear Stearns bailout, the AIG bailout, the Fannie/Freddie nationalization, TARP, now this gargantuan $825 billion(yeah, it’ll surely stop there…). I’m sure I missed some specific ones in the short list, but none of those has even made a DENT in the problem. Yet we’re back for more.

    Anyone think they’re gonna get it this time? *waits a few minutes for any answer* No? Didn’t think so.

  17. God bless them, each and every one.

  18. But what would Ferengi do?

  19. This letter, unfortunately, doesn’t do squat except demonstrate that there is more than one school of economics. Everyone should know that already, even if we do have an “expret” fetish. Wasn’t something like this tried before the TARP too?

    All these professors are accomplishing is making their presence known among a group of people looking for a scapegoat, or a traitor to hang. After all, it’s people like them whose fault it is that we’re in this mess, right?

  20. So let me get this strait:

    A large majority of Americans are against this…

    and…

    Lots of noted economists are against this (with the exception of the noble Mr. Krugman)…

    Yet, for their bullshit pork projects, the fuckwads in D.C. are just going ahead with this. Is it time to march on Washington or what?

  21. “This letter, unfortunately, doesn’t do squat except demonstrate that there is more than one school of economics.”

    To bad we can’t say the same for climate science. Gosh, does that mean economics is a more reliable scientific discipline – cuz that’s pretty scary…

  22. I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him hilarious.

    I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him childish.

  23. I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him hilarious.

    That’s a good point, but they’re not any funnier than joe arguing his thread-win count, or joe’s public displays of self-love when he scores an academic point.

    Also, I think if joe didn’t exist, H&R posters would invent him.


    I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him childish.

    We had better check your coolant levels.

  24. Jeff P,

    The Ferengi would recommend that we pass the stimulus package and severla more just like it. They would do so, of course, knowing that this course of action would wreck the U.S. economy and, ultimately, the world economy. Then they would buy Earth for 100 tons of replicated gold.

  25. My guess is that there simply isn’t an incentive for the politicians to “get it right,” since (a) the stimulus package presents an opportunity to reward contributors, and (b) no one will blame the stimulus package if things get worse, as is likely.

    Obama’s already going around saying things will get worse, even with the “stimulus,” so they already had thier asses covered…

  26. No true Scotsman…

  27. Charleston Heston runs out of the capital building, and screams loudly for everyone on the mall to hear,

    “The Multiplier Effect is fiction!”

  28. This stimulus bill was never about stimulating the economy. The Democrats are using the poor economy as cover and seizing an opportunity to grow government and the people’s dependence upon it. Either that or they’re just shitheads.

  29. I like this of course. But who starts a sentence with “Notwithstanding?” Couldn’t one of these economists ask somebody in the English dept for help?

  30. National Review backed Romney. They were right. It’s time to admit that.

  31. Many people are fond of articulating the proposition that there is very little, if any, black and white with respect to the relationship of government meddling in the economy and economic performance. Many of those people have a hard time accepting certain black and white realities such as:

    (1) the income tax, its avoidance and enforcement is a grotesque misallocation of resources that ultimately robs the economy of more productive pursuits.

    (2) government spending in a particular sector/industry such as health care and higher education also leads to spectacular misallocation of resources and invariably results in inflationary pressures that drive the price of the subsidized goods beyond the reach of so many who, without the government spending in the sector, would have been able to afford the subsidized goods.

  32. NAL, They are both shitheads and they’re using the crisis to ruin capitalism to achieve total control forevermore. If their concern was for America instead of Democratic power they would have never nominated a lightweight who’s never solved a problem in his life during economic turmoil.

  33. “I like this of course. But who starts a sentence with “Notwithstanding?” Couldn’t one of these economists ask somebody in the English dept for help?”

    Seriously. How many ways can you obfuscate in one simple paragraph? They should have gotten a copy editor to help out. It’s hard enough to convey these ideas without making them impenetrable.

  34. “Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

    What is so hard to understand about that?

    Fundamentally, our governing class is not about boosting growth or providing benefits to its subjects. If those things happen incidentally, as by-products of their program to increase their own wealth and power, fine, but make no mistake:

    This stimulus package is not intended to be economically beneficial to the nation as a whole. It is intended to be politically beneficial to our governing class, now consisting predominantly of Democrats.

    So, to answer your question, Mr. Gray, Our Masters understand it perfectly well. They just don’t care.

  35. (2) government spending in a particular sector/industry such as health care and higher education also leads to spectacular misallocation of resources and invariably results in inflationary pressures that drive the price of the subsidized goods beyond the reach of so many who, without the government spending in the sector, would have been able to afford the subsidized goods.

    Well stated.

  36. I don’t often agree with joe, but I find the constant preemptive digs at him childish.

    To some nihilistic dissenters, my actions may seem childish or ineffective. But I can’t afford be bothered with worries like popular opinion or the tenets of adult behavior. joe’s presence is a threat to the very future of this blog. My preemptive digs are justified by the motives behind them, not by any parsimonious metric of results.

    By God, people, something has to be done.

  37. Congrats on signing this, Dr. Cardon!

    Where’s Russell Roberts or Don Boudreaux?

  38. Charleston Heston runs out of the capital building, and screams loudly for everyone on the mall to hear,

    “The Multiplier Effect is fiction!”

    As he gets carried away to a reeducation camp, complete with “The Pocket Obama”.

    You know it’s mandatory, right?

  39. I wish I ascribe to the logic that politicians in Washington are setting capitalism for a fall. Unfortunately, I believe it has more to do with rewarding contributors/powerful lobby’s and just plain ignorance.

  40. Capitalism will recover. Wounded and weakened, but it will recover.

  41. Unfortunately, I believe it has more to do with rewarding contributors/powerful lobby’s and just plain ignorance.

    I would concur with that. It’s the only explanation of a bunch of whining about double taxation on dividends (which is true) with a bizarre inability to see that an easy solution is to not tax them on the corporate side. Double taxation eliminated, markets shift to companies that actually make money, a lot of good things result. Only thing is that they can’t reward contributors who want tax free personal income, so it ain’t happening.

  42. Capitalism will recover. Wounded and weakened, but it will recover.

    You might be thinking of a black market

  43. What about the non-politicians / non-special interests who are in favor of the stimulus package, like bloggers, academics and commentators? I wouldn’t think that they’d have any incentive to want to “grow government” for its own sake. Why do they favor this “do something” approach? Stupidity?

  44. we the undersigned do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance.

    That seems pretty straightforward to me.

  45. I’m going to develop a new queuing system for bread lines, so I can be Bread Czar.

  46. Stupidity?

    That would be my first guess.

  47. Pro Liberate,

    First corn now bread? Must you have it all!

  48. I know that the Urkobold thinks it’s about the stupidity, stupid.

    Naga,

    Not at the same time, silly. I’ll surrender my Corn Czar post and take on bread when we lose all of our corn to ethanol production.

  49. “Pro Libertate | January 28, 2009, 1:32pm | #”

    Bread? Pfft! The best position in Soviet America will be Vodka Czar!

  50. BDB,

    Sorry, but you are mistaken. This is America, not Russia. We will get a beer ration. Beer, of course, is liquid bread.

    Bourbon rations will go bye-bye with the corn, unfortunately. And we’ll only have our memories of poor, extinct tequila.

  51. Pro L–

    But once collective farms ruin the breadbasket, all we will have left are potatoes. And potatoes=vodka.

  52. Let them eat cornbread.

  53. So I understand that the Austrian school predicted the meltdown. Did Keynes? What is his explaination?

  54. Well, Roubini is a pretty prominent Keynsianish economist, and he vocally predicted it. Now which one of the Austrians was as exactly right as he was? just sayin…

  55. But why, then, does almost everyone with any power in Washington go completely the opposite way? Are they really stupid?

    Because they’re a bunch of greedy pigs who are getting their palms greased. Always follow the money.

  56. It’s funny how dependent this community is on me. Why are you talking about me? Srsly.

    But not as funny as the assortment of people who 1) clearly consider themselves to be sufficiently informed about economics to strike a superior tone, but 2) don’t actually know enough about the field to even realize that there is an alternative view on this question, much less know what it is, or realize that, in fact, it commands much broader support among economists than this “tax cut fairy” argument.

    Personally, I don’t trust people who have the same answer to every question. What’s the correct policy when (fill in any set of economic circumstances here)? Why, tax cuts and deregulation, of course.

  57. BDB,

    Well, I plan to take all my ill-gotten gains (from skimming the corn and the wheat) and leave once the corn and wheat are gone. By all means, enjoy your vodka!

  58. What is so hard to understand about that?

    Many people don’t trust self-organizing systems. It’s especially hard for that small subclass who have dedicated their time and money to getting themselves elected as our leaders to even consider leaving their hands off of such systems.

  59. Great, the joe spoofer is back.

  60. This stimulus bill was never about stimulating the economy. The Democrats are using the poor economy as cover and seizing an opportunity to grow government and the people’s dependence upon it. Either that or they’re just shitheads.

    It’s not an either/or. Many of them genuinely think they’re stimulating the economy AND if it just so happens that it increases the public’s dependence on them, so be it. People work out of a mixture of honorable and dishonorable motives all the time, especially when they can accomplish both ends with the same means.

  61. It’s a good thing there aren’t any political movements that have a low-tax, low-spending ideology that makes them prone to confirmation bias about the respectability of their positions with the field of economics.

  62. roubini is half austrian half keynesian. His austrian side correctly called the bubble burst and placed the blame on the Fed’s easy money policy. He is using his keynesian side now in saying fiscal stimulus + other spending (unemployment etc) is needed instead of just injecting capital into banks.

    So far his Austrian side was right, we will see if his keynesian side is.

  63. Cut the spoofing.

  64. This thread reminds me of the conservative students who sent out questionaires about the minimum wage to economists a couple years ago, and were stunned to discover that something like 75% of them supported keeping or raising it.

    It’s very common for people not to have a very sophisticated understanding of a specialized field, but there’s an odd phenomenon around the political right, and libertarians in particular, whereby they think they are experts on the subject, and that a knowledge of the field leads inevitably towards their preferred policy positions, when neither of those things are true.

  65. adrian,

    with all due respect, you don’t don’t know what you are talking about. Roubini was claimed by the austrians once he was right about the crisis. He is fairly straightforward modern keynesian – though more perceptive than most. I sat through about 100 hours of his lectures.

  66. The spoofer’s turned into a hateful little shit, hasn’t he? His antics are getting boring. He’ll break out “libertards” any minute now.

  67. “Am I missing some persuasive counter-argument? Do the powers-that-be really not care? I’m not cynical enough to believe that.”

    From Men In Black: “A person is smart. People are dumb.”

    Congress is like a mob – the collective intellegence is lower than that of the stupidest member. How else can you take 535 folks, many, if not most, of whom are acknowledged as being of at least average intellenge and end up with such absolutely STUPID policies?

  68. I sat through about 100 hours of his lectures.

    On tape?

  69. So domo, did he not describe the burst like an austrian? And then his prescriptions to fix it like a keynesian?

    i guess i meant 50/50 more as problem vs solution instead of 50/50 on each decision he makes.

  70. It’s not the spoofer, folks.

    Have I been so meek, polite, and nonconfrontational all these years that I couldn’t possibly be writing disparaging things about libertarians not understanding economics as well as they think they do?

  71. very much live. At least I still was (barely) at the end of it. Him, I wasn’t always so sure about.

  72. I didn’t find his description of the problem “austrian” or anything else, really. I don’t think saying “the sky is falling” is unique to austrians – though they do tend to do a bit more of it than everyone else. Austrians have tended to focus on inflation as the problem – whereas Roubini rightfully predicted deflation.

  73. 1000 economists signed a petition warning against Smoot Hawley too. A lot of good that did.

    Joe, economics is not a democracy where you vote on what makes for sound policy. It is, or at least ought to be, a science.

  74. The Austrians argument that roubini is one of them goes: Roubini was right and now seems to be smarter than everyone. We think we are smarter than everyone. Therefore roubini is an austrian.

  75. domo, there is a bit more to the story than that, this is from Gary North from a year or so ago:

    You have read the headlines about the Federal Reserve’s new policy of inflation to solve the credit crisis.

    I ask you bluntly: “Have you reallocated your investments so as to hedge against the FED’s wave of fiat money?” Be honest. Have you?

    I hope not. Why? Because the reports are all wrong. I don’t mean a teeny-weeny bit wrong. I mean completely wrong.

    The FED has not been inflating. The FED has been deflating.

    Hard to believe? It surely is. I find it difficult to believe myself. I had thought the FED would inflate (“Reality Check,” August 28). So did everyone else. But the data are clear. The FED has shrunk the money supply since mid-August, 2007.

    In support of this, I offer evidence from the FED itself. I have assembled the data and the charts. Click the link. (If you have money on the line, you had better click the link.)

  76. Joe, economics is not a democracy where you vote on what makes for sound policy.

    So, why doesn’t this point get addressed to Damon Root, who decided that hyping how many economists (very few, actually, but let’s forget that) oppose a bailout is worth doing?

    Or when the same “economics by democracy” argument was made three or four posts down “more and more economists and finance people” are against the bailout?

    Oddly enough, you only decided this was an important to make about consensus when someone pointed out that, in fact, there is not such a consensus – that is, the actual argument from “democracy” is ok with you, but pointing out the argument isn’t so strong is not.

  77. Here is the link he mentions

    Personally, I have most of my excess capital tied up in money markets (Yen) on the sound economic theory of once bitten, twice shy (for at least a decade).

  78. alan – what are ou responding to? context, please, im a bit confused by your post.

  79. D. Saul Weiner | January 28, 2009, 3:28pm | #
    1000 economists signed a petition warning against Smoot Hawley too. A lot of good that did.

    Joe, economics is not a democracy where you vote on what makes for sound policy. It is, or at least ought to be, a science.

    Economics is a descriptive science certainly, but it is seriously lacking in explanatory theories, predictive validity, and other elements of more mature sciences that make them useful.

  80. economics, like war, is politics by other means

  81. that gary north link was from a year ago – im having trouble here…

  82. Austrians have tended to focus on inflation as the problem – whereas Roubini rightfully predicted deflation.

    To that broad statement. Generally, you are right, as North acknowledged, the facts of what Bernanke did went counter to what he most everyone assumed, but more specifically, among Austrian economists I have seen a great deal of debate over deflationary and inflationary measures.

  83. Joe, economics is not a democracy where you vote on what makes for sound policy. It is, or at least ought to be, a science.

    Indeed!

    You know what you never hear scientists, or serious followers of scientific issues, or very well-informed laymen looking at a scientific debate, say?

    “Oh my god, I can’t believe anyone could even disagree with this. They must be stupid. Or evil. Or stupid and evil. I don’t know what the other side’s argument even is, but I know it’s wrong.”

  84. well, m1 is kind of a shitty proxy for the monetary base, and bernanke doesn’t control it directly anyway. I guess you could say that M1 contracted because the market didn’t feel Bernanke cut fast enough. If my memory serves, that was kind of the sentiment around the end of q4 07.

  85. I am glad to hear that serious Austrians talk about and worry about deflation – wish we could get some on Hit and Run.

  86. i thought the austrians position was that deflation would be temporary as the deleveraging takes place but once that is done (year or two) inflation would take hold (because of monetary policy, deficits etc) which would then cause the dollar to tank.

  87. It’s very common for people not to have a very sophisticated understanding of a specialized field, but there’s an odd phenomenon around the political right, and libertarians in particular, whereby they think they are experts on the subject, and that a knowledge of the field leads inevitably towards their preferred policy positions, when neither of those things are true.

    Oh, joe, must you be so cruel?

  88. This stimulus bill was never about stimulating the economy. The Democrats are using the poor economy as cover and seizing an opportunity to grow government and the people’s dependence upon it. Either that or they’re just shitheads.

    It’s a floor polish and a dessert topping.

  89. Well, I don’t know. If you say that is the universaly held position, I’m going to argue with you. It’s not like I have a survey at my disposal. I’ve heard plenty of non-austrians talk about that as well. At the end of the day, there are fairly few economists (apart from austrians, it seems) that fall wholely into one school. Most that I’ve talked to seems to take bits from everywhere as appropriate.

  90. I meant to say, I’m not going to argue with you

  91. I am glad to hear that serious Austrians talk about and worry about deflation

    The finance/econ blogger Mike “Mish” Shedlock, while an engineer by training, is an Austrian economics proponent.
    He has been predicting deflation since at least 2004. He has credited Roubini and Austrian economist Frank Shostak as influences. I’ve only been reading him since mid/late 2007 but he seems to be quite prescient about current conditions.

  92. It’s very common for people not to have a very sophisticated understanding of a specialized field, but there’s an odd phenomenon around the political right, and libertarians in particular, whereby they think they are experts on the subject, and that a knowledge of the field leads inevitably towards their preferred policy positions, when neither of those things are true.

    Nice try. You’ve just described a prevalent human trait and tried to paint it as peculiar to libertarians.

  93. kewl.

  94. Mike Laursen,

    Fair enough; what I just described is a common human trait.

    My point is that among conservatives and libertarians, it finds its expression largely in the area of ekinomiks.

  95. Liberals don’t express opinions about economics? Or they ain’t people?

  96. My point is that among conservatives and libertarians, it finds its expression largely in the area of ekinomiks.

    Since about last September, every political crackpot is an expert in economics and monetary policy.

    Of course, your Total Statist is an expert in every field of human endeavor, so libertarians confining ourselves to economics puts us ahead of our authoritarian rivals.

  97. “Personally, I don’t trust people who have the same answer to every question. What’s the correct policy when (fill in any set of economic circumstances here)? Why, tax cuts and deregulation, of course.”

    Personally, I don’t trust people who have the same answer to every question. What’s the correct course of action when (fill in any set of medical circumstances here)? Why, proper diet and exercise, of course.

  98. Liberals don’t express opinions about economics?? Did you read anything I wrote? Did I note that libertarians “express opinions about economics?”

    What a sorry dodge.

  99. Adam,

    The next time you hear a physician recommend proper diet and exercise as a treatment for lung cancer or tb, be sure and let us know.

    RC whines Of course, your Total Statist is an expert in every field of human endeavor What on earth is a “total statist?” You can’t even bring yourself to type the word “liberal?” Good thing you’re coming at this with such objective detachment.

    Also, your list of links to liberals asserting that nobody else knows anything about economics, and that conservative ideas they can’t even explain or identify are wrong, certainly is impressive.

  100. @Joe:

    “Fair enough; what I just described is a common human trait.

    My point is that among conservatives and libertarians, it finds its expression largely in the area of ekinomiks.”

    I don’t think being InstaExpert is a problem related to an ideology or a given subject. I think its something affecting the elected and appointed elite. I mean, over the past seven year or so we’ve had:

    George Bush gets to play Emperor Trajan in Ctesiphon.
    Barney Frank gets to play Mortgage Broker
    John Yoo gets to play Lavrenti Beria
    Henry Paulson gets to play Commissar
    Al Gore gets to play Climate Scientist
    Dick Cheney gets to play Human
    Ted Haggard gets to play Heterosexual

    Oh, and Barack Obama gets to be Jesus or something like that.

    Such hubris exists in all ideologues over any subject under the Sun, or beyond it, frankly (Pat Robertson, ’nuff said). I think that trait is more in-line with a type of psychology associated with the trait-holder.

    Its also called “Monday Morning Quarterback” in a different context.

  101. “The next time you hear a physician recommend proper diet and exercise as a treatment for lung cancer or tb, be sure and let us know.”

    Joe, find me a physician who would *not* suggest proper diet and exercise as part of your treatment for lung cancer or tb. They’ll prescribe other treatments, of course, but taking care of yourself can only help. Of course, there are limited circumstances in which you should, say, not be exercising vigorously (post-op after a transplant, for example). But is there a (non-quack) physician alive who’d discourage these things as two very good ways to promote your health?

    No. Which is why the argument that “you guys always recommend the same thing” is invalid. In rare circumstances (say, a foreign invasion) taxes might be justifiable, in order to raise an army without resorting to conscription. But good policy is good policy, and it’s always a good idea to pursue it.

  102. Don’t feed the troll. Unless you actually enjoy a broken record of second string Eric Hofferisms
    questioning your underlying worth and motivations instead of a discussion of the subject matter at hand, don’t feed the troll.

  103. “economics, like war, is politics by other means”

    That is precisely the problem. Economics has been ruined by being turned into a political weapon instead of it just being a means for understanding matters of exchange, production, and so forth. And any field of study which is transformed in that way is also destroyed, as it changes with the political wind, rather than being built on sound principles.

  104. Somewhat surprising to see Deirdre McCloskey signing this letter, seeing as she previously signed another letter endorsing John Edwards, who isn’t exactly averse to state spending:

    http://johnedwards.com/news/press-releases/20080102-economists/

  105. domo: i’m no economist so i’m just trying to remember what i’ve read. thanks for the tip on roubini being way into keynes, i’ll have to read more about it.

  106. “Somewhat surprising to see Deirdre McCloskey signing this letter, seeing as she previously signed another letter endorsing John Edwards, who isn’t exactly averse to state spending:”

    He probably knocker her up with a bastard kid and then denied the whole thing. Its just sour grapes!

  107. “Don’t feed the troll. Unless you actually enjoy a broken record of second string Eric Hofferisms
    questioning your underlying worth and motivations instead of a discussion of the subject matter at hand, don’t feed the troll.”

    Uh-oh. Did I do bad?

  108. What a sorry dodge.

    OK, I’ll rephrase to better match your exact words. Do liberals not express themselves largely in the area of ekinomiks?

  109. Adam,

    Joe, find me a physician who would *not* suggest proper diet and exercise as part of your treatment for lung cancer or tb. It would be incredibly easy to find such a physician, since in many cases, the recommended treatment includes bed rest and the avoidance of physical exertion until the medical treatments and the body’s own recuperative powers make one strong enough for exercise.

    Of course, there are limited circumstances in which you should, say, not be exercising vigorously (post-op after a transplant, for example). What’s that you say? In an extreme circumstance, the general rules of thumb about how to keep on healthy don’t apply? You actually DO need to know something about the patient’s condition?

    You know, a wise man once made a very similar point.

  110. It’s not the words, Adam, that went over your head; it’s the point.

    Here, let me put what I wrote right next to what you wrote, and see if you can figure out the disconnect:

    joe But not as funny as the assortment of people who 1) clearly consider themselves to be sufficiently informed about economics to strike a superior tone, but 2) don’t actually know enough about the field to even realize that there is an alternative view on this question, much less know what it is, or realize that, in fact, it commands much broader support among economists than this “tax cut fairy” argument….

    It’s very common for people not to have a very sophisticated understanding of a specialized field, but there’s an odd phenomenon around the political right, and libertarians in particular, whereby they think they are experts on the subject, and that a knowledge of the field leads inevitably towards their preferred policy positions, when neither of those things are true.

    What you wrote: Liberals don’t express opinions about economics??…express themselves largely in the area of ekinomiks

    Did you see it that time?

    I’m not talking about “expressing an opinion” about economics. I’m talking about dimwitted comments like “I have no idea how anybody else can come to different conclusion. They must be stupid or evil. Oh, btw, I don’t even know what the opposing arguments are.”

  111. Er, not Adam. Mike Lausen.

    Look, Mike, I have nothing against anyone expressing opinions about issues, even libertarian opinions that are different from my own. That’s what I come here for.

    It’s the pose of superior knowledge from people who treat the fact that they are ignorant of anyone else’s position – including that of a pretty large majority of economists – as proof of their economic brilliance that grates.

  112. It’s amazing to me that so much Internet debate can be boiled down to “so’s your old man!”

    Hoe’s original comment, for example, boiled down to that.

  113. I meant “Joe’s” . . .

  114. “Who cares what Krugman thinks? He’s an economist much in the same way that Greenspan was an economist; say things that sooth, reassure and aggrandize politicians and you shall never want for anything!”

    Maybe I could get cred as a real economist(tm) if I claimed that the stimulus wasn’t massive enough yet.

  115. Look, Mike, I have nothing against anyone expressing opinions about issues, even libertarian opinions that are different from my own. That’s what I come here for.

    It’s the pose of superior knowledge from people who treat the fact that they are ignorant of anyone else’s position – including that of a pretty large majority of economists – as proof of their economic brilliance that grates.

    I respect that. And, by the way, that was two paragraphs of actual discussion rather than trolling. You should do more of that.

  116. “What’s that you say? In an extreme circumstance, the general rules of thumb about how to keep on healthy don’t apply? You actually DO need to know something about the patient’s condition?”

    You don’t need to be snappy, I’m trying to make a perfectly reasonable point, which is that certain things are (virtually) always a good idea. Proper diet and exercise are among them. To my mind, so is reducing the ambit of state coercion. Of course there are always exceptions in exceptional cases. But basing the general rule on the exception makes as much sense as planning your financial future around an asteroid hitting the Earth in 2037.

  117. joe,

    It’s the pose of superior knowledge from people who treat the fact that they are ignorant of anyone else’s position – including that of a pretty large majority of economists – as proof of their economic brilliance that grates.

    I have met and talked with a large number of economists, and my experience has not been that they are typically ignorant of others positions – quite the opposite. Real economists are very attuned to others views – perhaps only to score academic points by refuting and criticizing them – but still, ignorant they are not.

    economist:
    Maybe I could get cred as a real economist(tm) if I claimed that the stimulus wasn’t massive enough yet.

    you could probably do better than that – i’m guessing some TARP dollars or bailout dough could probably be had for something like that.

    D. Saul Weiner:

    Just to be clear, that comment was meant to be ironic and critical of some economists – I share your view. I loath Clauswitzonomics.

    Adrian,

    I’m actually not a huge fan of Roubini’s I hated his class, but I have to give credit for the man being spot on. Personally, he is repulsive.

  118. Adrian,

    I would hate to relegate tax cuts and deregulation to the same role diet and exercise play in modern life – ie. something the doctor nags you at your annual physical, but is otherwise pretty much out of the picture for most people.

  119. Look, Mike, I have nothing against anyone expressing opinions about issues, even libertarian opinions that are different from my own. That’s what I come here for.

    It’s the pose of superior knowledge from people who treat the fact that they are ignorant of anyone else’s position – including that of a pretty large majority of economists – as proof of their economic brilliance that grates.

    I respect that. And, by the way, that was two paragraphs of actual discussion rather than trolling. You should do more of that.

    Did he actually make a comment about the subject of the thread post?

    Did he take a stand on any matter pertaining to that post, or show even the slightest interest in its subject matter?

    Or, was it once again, like every damn thread he has engaged in at least since Obama was elected (nothing like a temporary political victory to make a hack feel everything he believes in is validated), a dig at libertarians?

    Still trolling.

  120. ?,
    Uh, yeah. I predicted this a while back, before the election. I was wrong, however, in my assumption that MNG and Neu Mejican would follow suit, so hereto I had decided not to give it too much attention.

  121. Maybe you’re right, ?. I was probably being too conciliatory.

    By the way, how are The Mysterians doing?

  122. A few titanium hips here, a pacemaker there, a bit of arthritis keeps acting up, especially with Martinez not keeping his elbows tucked when popping the snare, we are feeling it, baby 😉

  123. Woah, four of my professors are on that list.

  124. “Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”

    What is so hard to understand about that?

    It’s not that they don’t understand, it’s that they don’t care.

  125. Arguing on the internet is like competing in the Special Olympics…..even if you win, you’re still retarded.

  126. I don’t see many people commenting on Krugman’s wording in the first place. He not only dismisses anyone that disagrees with him, he outright calls them dishonest. Open debate is dishonest? Discussion is dishonest? At least here there is banter back and forth, Joe can be lambasted, but he has the opportunity to give it right back.

  127. I forgot to mention that I tend to agree with Joe on many points (although not all), but even as a moderate liberal I was disgusted with Krugman’s column. The whole thing stinks to high heaven, “buy american”, washington pork, and all. It seems to me the American people tried to change the channel but they are just getting the same show.

  128. I just hear Robert Gibbs make reference to the economists on both sides of the aisle are upholding the stimulus package. I see the list of economist not supporting it, when will we see the list the President is listening to.

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