Defer to the Experts
Nate Silver has a reasonable post excoriating the lunatic fringe for their rabid opposition to various parts of the stimulus package despite the fact that virtually none of them have any clue what they’re talking about. His conclusion, too, sounds reasonable:
What I’m asking you to do is to clear the playing field. This is neither the time nor the place for mass movements — this is the time for expert opinion. Once the experts and I’m not one of them have reached some kind of a consensus about what the best course of action is and they haven’t yet, then figure out who is impeding that action for political or other disingenuous reasons and tackle them — do whatever you can to remove them from the playing field. But we’re not at that stage yet.
Here’s the thing, though: He wrote that less than 24 hours ago. Since then, the congressional leadership and President Obama have struck a deal that, most likely, will pass both Houses and get signed into law over the holiday weekend.
The experts will not have reached a consensus by that point. Hell, Tim Geithner won’t have figured out the details by that point. (And that’s not a shot at Geithner; that he realizes he doesn’t have the answers is a good thing.)
Unfortunately, while this is indeed a time when deferring to the technocrats would seem prudent (although I’m not unsympathetic to the contrarian view expressed by David Sirota) policy is being made by innumerate economic dunces on the basis of political horsetrading. So, the tiny fraction of the 99.9999 percent of us who are clueless on the details of this who nonetheless care might as well weigh in now.