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Sunday, September 16, 2012

'The Puzzle of the Republican Economists'

Brad DeLong:

... The puzzle of the Republican economists who are plausible candidates for the highest federal office--the Hubbards, the Mankiws, the Rosens, the Taylors, the Feldsteins, the Lazears, and the others--is that the whole point of attaining high federal office is so that one can then make the world a better place. The hours are long. The hours are long. The pay is not that great. The chance of getting slimed and smashed by the political process is high. The food in the White House Mess is not that good. If you sacrifice all of your policy knowledge and commitments so that you can play the Inside Game then you might as well have never been born. Better to stick to your policy guns and if that means that you have to play the Outside Game only, well then, so be it--better to be a knowledgeable choice than an ignorant echo.
As Kurt Vonnegut wrote in his Mother Night: We are who we pretend to be, so we need to be damned careful who we pretend to be.
It is interesting to note that the behavior of the serious Republican economists here--that none of them has been willing to stand up and public and say that the 11-1 vote of the FOMC is even a defensible judgment call--is very similar to the behavior of the moderate Republican senators since… 1993, unwilling to stand up for their policy preferences and make a difference but instead insisting on being echoes of their leadership, and ciphers who might as well not have been there.

I can think of a lot of examples where Paul Krugman and others on the left have been pretty tough on Obama. But I can't think of similar examples on the right, instances where economists like those named above have staked out positions that are highly critical of their party's policies. Can you?

    Posted by on Sunday, September 16, 2012 at 09:21 AM in Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (40)


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