Economist John Cochrane

Economist John Cochrane writes in his worthy blog, The Grumpy Economist, Good Comments, 5/30/12.


Economic analysis is more believable when it is non-partisan. I like commentators who make an effort to find silliness (and there is plenty of it) attached to both parties. When I see an analyst that always seems to be plugging one of the political parties, I know he’ll be shading the truth at least half the time. Even people who are partisan function most usefully by holding their own party’s actions to scrutiny, rather than sanctifying any action on one side and demonizing any action on the other. Most hilarious are commentators who laud a policy action when their pet party does it, and demonize exactly the same action when undertaken by the other side.

And economists should insist on precise language. When political discussion uses the word “drastic cut” to mean growing expenses by 5% where before the government was planning to grow expenses by 7%, our job is to remind them what “cut” means. So much economic discussion really belongs on my favorite game,  bullshit bingo.

By now you will probably guess that what set me off is Paul Krugman’s announcement in the New York Times that in his exalted opinion New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is a “big fiscal phony,” that Congressman Paul Ryan and candidate Mitt Romney are “fakers,” who are “willing to snatch food from the mouths of babes (literally, via cuts [sic] in crucial nutritional aid programs),” all to serve the dark conspiratorial interests of their “financial backers.”

HKO comments:

Krugman is a Nobel Prize winning economist – for his work in international trade.  His columns, however, smack of juvenile partisanship.   Such hysterical “baby-killer” accusations debase any serious consideration and probably inflict damage on those otherwise who may have an objection worthy of consideration.  Only the already converted sycophants can take such comments seriously.