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The State of Economics and Economics Journalism

Posted By Russ Roberts On June 6, 2012 @ 12:47 am In Stimulus | Comments Disabled

Here is John Cassidy writing in the New Yorker [1] (HT: Tod Modisett):

The reaction to the May employment report has been depressingly predictable: Republicans have been gleefully proclaiming that President Obama’s fiscal stimulus didn’t work. Many people who commented on my post about the political impact of the job figures parroted the same line, arguing that the lacklustre economy demonstrates Keynesianism is a bust.

Having spent much of the past three years reading and writing about this subject, I wonder whether it is even worth engaging with these arguments. The aversion to government spending, and government activity generally, which animates many Americans isn’t actually based on economics, or logic: it is an emotionally driven belief system, founded upon a cockeyed view of American history and buttressed by a variety of right-wing shibboleths.

He wonders whether it’s worth engaging in these arguments? I understand that the lousy job numbers don’t disprove Keynesian economics. But the burden of proof is on the Keynesians, not the skeptics. So if you still believe in the ability of government spending to boost the economy, you have to engage the other side.

This isn’t a crackpot blogger. This is a smart guy writing in one of the finest magazines in America. His attitude tells you everything you need to know about the state of economics journalism and the nature of macroeconomics. That journalists and economists on both sides of this debate can write like this, dismissing the other side’s views as ridiculous when in fact, THERE ISN’T ANY RELIABLE INCONTROVERTIBLE EVIDENCE TO DECISIVELY CONFIRM EITHER SIDE’S VIEWS is everything that’s wrong about macroeconomics and the people who write about it.

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[1] writing in the New Yorker: http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/johncassidy/2012/06/the-republican-economy.html

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