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LQD - Economists Agree ... that Republicans are crazy?

by Zwackus Wed Jul 25th, 2012 at 06:26:55 AM EST

This was linked on the front page of Daily Kos, and I thought it might be of particular interest over here - especially since I haven't seen a LQD in a while.

The US Economic Policy Debate is a Sham

Watching Democrats and Republicans hash out their differences in the public arena, it's easy to get the impression that there's a deep disagreement among reasonable people about how to manage the U.S. economy.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

In reality, there's remarkable consensus among mainstream economists, including those from the left and right, on most major macroeconomic issues. The debate in Washington about economic policy is phony. It's manufactured. And it's entirely political.


The consensus isn't the result of a faux poll of left-wing ideologues. Rather, the findings come from the Economic Experts Panel run by Booth's Initiative on Global Markets. It's a recurring survey of about 40 economists from around the U.S. It includes Democrats, Republicans and independent academics from the top economics departments in the country. The only things that unite them are their first-rate credentials and their interest in public policy.

Let's be clear about what the economists' remarkable consensus means. They aren't purporting to know all the right answers. Rather, they agree on the best reading of murky evidence. The folks running the survey understand this uncertainty, and have asked the economists to rate their confidence in their answers on a scale of 1 to 10. Strikingly, the consensus looks even stronger when the responses are weighted according to confidence.

The debate in Washington has become completely unmoored from this consensus, and in a particular direction: Angry Republicans have pushed their representatives to adopt positions that are at odds with the best of modern economic thinking. That may be good politics, but it's terrible policy.

The disjunction between the state of economic knowledge and our current political debate has important consequences. Right now, millions of people are suffering due to high unemployment. Our textbooks are filled with possible solutions. Instead of debating them seriously, congressional Republicans are blocking even those policy proposals that strike most economists as uncontroversial.

The opening paragraph reads like they want to contrast wise and all-knowing economists with those silly politicians, but when they get into the meat of the article, it becomes clear that they're really slamming the economic idiocy of the Republican party.

... they're really slamming the economic idiocy  strategy of the Republican party.

They tried to assimilate me. They failed.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Wed Jul 25th, 2012 at 08:34:34 PM EST
Not just Republicans and not just crazy! Over 90% of the entire population are sufficiently misled, confused and confounded that generating the necessary support for the needed changes is presently impossible. And intelligent discussion of that situation is confined to the fringe.

The most significant problem is that while economists like Krugman and DeLong, part of the mainstream and viable candidates for inclusion in the sample used by the Booth Economic Experts Panel, along with a majority of the panel, have policy recommendations that are obviously more sane, it is not possible politically to implement even these, such as larger stimulus and federal funding to support needed social functions such as education and public safety, while the steps necessary for a true solution remain off the table and out of the Overton Window.

The necessary solutions include breaking up the TBTF banks, vigorously prosecuting the fraudulent conduct in the financial sector that led to this debacle, shrinking the financial sector back to its size in 1960 while growing the manufacturing sector back to a significant portion of what it was at its peak by confronting the dark side of 'globalization', breaking the control of wealth over elections and putting in place tax policies that will bring wealth distribution back to 1960 levels. Presently even a majority of the electorate that would benefit from such a shift would likely not vote for candidates who advocate such changes. Changing that defines the scope of the problem.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 28th, 2012 at 09:07:19 AM EST
People know what they're told, and since 1974 (Nixon's resignation) the 1% have made a concerted effort to control the media outlets and the message.
by rifek on Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 11:20:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That Rethuglicons are crazy comes as a surprise only to 50% of the US population and 99% of the US "news" media.
by rifek on Sun Aug 5th, 2012 at 11:15:17 PM EST

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