Krugman’s 200 Dishonest Flacks

Paul Krugman writes,

So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major antistimulus arguments that have already surfaced. Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.

Meet 200 dishonest flacks, who have signed onto the following statement,

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.

You can see the signers below the fold,

* Burton Abrams, Univ. of Delaware
* Douglas Adie, Ohio University
* Ryan Amacher, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
* J.J. Arias, Georgia College & State University
* Howard Baetjer, Jr., Towson University
* Stacie Beck, Univ. of Delaware
* Don Bellante, Univ. of South Florida
* James Bennett, George Mason University
* Bruce Benson, Florida State University
* Sanjai Bhagat, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
* Mark Bils, Univ. of Rochester
* Alberto Bisin, New York University
* Walter Block, Loyola University New Orleans
* Cecil Bohanon, Ball State University
* Michele Boldrin, Washington University in St. Louis
* Donald Booth, Chapman University
* Michael Bordo, Rutgers University
* Samuel Bostaph, Univ. of Dallas
* Scott Bradford, Brigham Young University
* Genevieve Briand, Eastern Washington University
* George Brower, Moravian College
* James Buchanan, Nobel laureate
* Richard Burdekin, Claremont McKenna College
* Henry Butler, Northwestern University
* William Butos, Trinity College
* Peter Calcagno, College of Charleston
* Bryan Caplan, George Mason University
* Art Carden, Rhodes College
* James Cardon, Brigham Young University
* Dustin Chambers, Salisbury University
* Emily Chamlee-Wright, Beloit College
* V.V. Chari, Univ. of Minnesota
* Barry Chiswick, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
* Lawrence Cima, John Carroll University
* J.R. Clark, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
* Gian Luca Clementi, New York University
* R. Morris Coats, Nicholls State University
* John Cochran, Metropolitan State College
* John Cochrane, Univ. of Chicago
* John Cogan, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
* John Coleman, Duke University
* Boyd Collier, Tarleton State University
* Robert Collinge, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
* Lee Coppock, Univ. of Virginia
* Mario Crucini, Vanderbilt University
* Christopher Culp, Univ. of Chicago
* Kirby Cundiff, Northeastern State University
* Antony Davies, Duquesne University
* John Dawson, Appalachian State University
* Clarence Deitsch, Ball State University
* Arthur Diamond, Jr., Univ. of Nebraska at Omaha
* John Dobra, Univ. of Nevada, Reno
* James Dorn, Towson University
* Christopher Douglas, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
* Floyd Duncan, Virginia Military Institute
* Francis Egan, Trinity College
* John Egger, Towson University
* Kenneth Elzinga, Univ. of Virginia
* Paul Evans, Ohio State University
* Eugene Fama, Univ. of Chicago
* W. Ken Farr, Georgia College & State University
* Hartmut Fischer, Univ. of San Francisco
* Fred Foldvary, Santa Clara University
* Murray Frank, Univ. of Minnesota
* Peter Frank, Wingate University
* Timothy Fuerst, Bowling Green State University
* B. Delworth Gardner, Brigham Young University
* John Garen, Univ. of Kentucky
* Rick Geddes, Cornell University
* Aaron Gellman, Northwestern University
* William Gerdes, Clarke College
* Michael Gibbs, Univ. of Chicago
* Stephan Gohmann, Univ. of Louisville
* Rodolfo Gonzalez, San Jose State University
* Richard Gordon, Penn State University
* Peter Gordon, Univ. of Southern California
* Ernie Goss, Creighton University
* Paul Gregory, Univ. of Houston
* Earl Grinols, Baylor University
* Daniel Gropper, Auburn University
* R.W. Hafer, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville
* Arthur Hall, Univ. of Kansas
* Steve Hanke, Johns Hopkins
* Stephen Happel, Arizona State University
* Frank Hefner, College of Charleston
* Ronald Heiner, George Mason University
* David Henderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
* Robert Herren, North Dakota State University
* Gailen Hite, Columbia University
* Steven Horwitz, St. Lawrence University
* John Howe, Univ. of Missouri, Columbia
* Jeffrey Hummel, San Jose State University
* Bruce Hutchinson, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga
* Brian Jacobsen, Wisconsin Lutheran College
* Jason Johnston, Univ. of Pennsylvania
* Boyan Jovanovic, New York University
* Jonathan Karpoff, Univ. of Washington
* Barry Keating, Univ. of Notre Dame
* Naveen Khanna, Michigan State University
* Nicholas Kiefer, Cornell University
* Daniel Klein, George Mason University
* Paul Koch, Univ. of Kansas
* Narayana Kocherlakota, Univ. of Minnesota
* Marek Kolar, Delta College
* Roger Koppl, Fairleigh Dickinson University
* Kishore Kulkarni, Metropolitan State College of Denver
* Deepak Lal, UCLA
* George Langelett, South Dakota State University
* James Larriviere, Spring Hill College
* Robert Lawson, Auburn University
* John Levendis, Loyola University New Orleans
* David Levine, Washington University in St. Louis
* Peter Lewin, Univ. of Texas at Dallas
* Dean Lillard, Cornell University
* Zheng Liu, Emory University
* Alan Lockard, Binghampton University
* Edward Lopez, San Jose State University
* John Lunn, Hope College
* Glenn MacDonald, Washington University in St. Louis
* Michael Marlow, California Polytechnic State University
* Deryl Martin, Tennessee Tech University
* Dale Matcheck, Northwood University
* Deirdre McCloskey, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago
* John McDermott, Univ. of South Carolina
* Joseph McGarrity, Univ. of Central Arkansas
* Roger Meiners, Univ. of Texas at Arlington
* Allan Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University
* John Merrifield, Univ. of Texas at San Antonio
* James Miller III, George Mason University
* Jeffrey Miron, Harvard University
* Thomas Moeller, Texas Christian University
* John Moorhouse, Wake Forest University
* Andrea Moro, Vanderbilt University
* Andrew Morriss, Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
* Michael Munger, Duke University
* Kevin Murphy, Univ. of Southern California
* Richard Muth, Emory University
* Charles Nelson, Univ. of Washington
* Seth Norton, Wheaton College
* Lee Ohanian, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
* Lydia Ortega, San Jose State University
* Evan Osborne, Wright State University
* Randall Parker, East Carolina University
* Donald Parsons, George Washington University
* Sam Peltzman, Univ. of Chicago
* Mark Perry, Univ. of Michigan, Flint
* Christopher Phelan, Univ. of Minnesota
* Gordon Phillips, Univ. of Maryland
* Michael Pippenger, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks
* Tomasz Piskorski, Columbia University
* Brennan Platt, Brigham Young University
* Joseph Pomykala, Towson University
* William Poole, Univ. of Delaware
* Barry Poulson, Univ. of Colorado at Boulder
* Benjamin Powell, Suffolk University
* Edward Prescott, Nobel laureate
* Gary Quinlivan, Saint Vincent College
* Reza Ramazani, Saint Michael’s College
* Adriano Rampini, Duke University
* Eric Rasmusen, Indiana University
* Mario Rizzo, New York University
* Richard Roll, Univ. of California, Los Angeles
* Robert Rossana, Wayne State University
* James Roumasset, Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa
* John Rowe, Univ. of South Florida
* Charles Rowley, George Mason University
* Juan Rubio-Ramirez, Duke University
* Roy Ruffin, Univ. of Houston
* Kevin Salyer, Univ. of California, Davis
* Pavel Savor, Univ. of Pennsylvania
* Ronald Schmidt, Univ. of Rochester
* Carlos Seiglie, Rutgers University
* William Shughart II, Univ. of Mississippi
* Charles Skipton, Univ. of Tampa
* James Smith, Western Carolina University
* Vernon Smith, Nobel laureate
* Lawrence Southwick, Jr., Univ. at Buffalo
* Dean Stansel, Florida Gulf Coast University
* Houston Stokes, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago
* Brian Strow, Western Kentucky University
* Shirley Svorny, California State
* University, Northridge
* John Tatom, Indiana State University
* Wade Thomas, State University of New York at Oneonta
* Henry Thompson, Auburn University
* Alex Tokarev, The King’s College
* Edward Tower, Duke University
* Leo Troy, Rutgers University
* David Tuerck, Suffolk University
* Charlotte Twight, Boise State University
* Kamal Upadhyaya, Univ. of New Haven
* Charles Upton, Kent State University
* T. Norman Van Cott, Ball State University
* Richard Vedder, Ohio University
* Richard Wagner, George Mason University
* Douglas M. Walker, College of Charleston
* Douglas O. Walker, Regent University
* Christopher Westley, Jacksonville State University
* Lawrence White, Univ. of Missouri at St. Louis
* Walter Williams, George Mason University
* Doug Wills, Univ. of Washington Tacoma
* Dennis Wilson, Western Kentucky University
* Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College
* Huizhong Zhou, Western Michigan University

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, Government, ,
Steve Verdon
About Steve Verdon
Steve has a B.A. in Economics from the University of California, Los Angeles and attended graduate school at The George Washington University, leaving school shortly before staring work on his dissertation when his first child was born. He works in the energy industry and prior to that worked at the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the Division of Price Index and Number Research. He joined the staff at OTB in November 2004.

Comments

  1. Mac G says:

    Did these professors actually live through the last 8 years or not? The Bush tax cuts did nothing and the Reagan Revolution was a big fraud/ponzi scheme. It is positive that there are people out there with a difference of opinion but I am sure these professors are the same jokers who cheer leaded the housing bubble every step of the way and supported the financial instruments which led to this world depression.

    These free market fundamentalists have zero credibility. They remind me of the town drunk now preaching the virtues of sobriety.




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  2. Rick DeMent says:

    and one more time for the English impaired, Tax cuts are deficit spending. And it is also deficit spending not directly targeted at those industries posting the biggest declines.

    Tax cuts are deficit spending ….

    Say it again, say it till it’s part of your DNA, anyone telling you that deficit spending is bad and tax cuts are good is cognitively unable to grasp this issue.(and let me be clear, I’m not saying this is Verdon’s position. His writing is so bad it’s tough to figure out just what he is actually for.)




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  3. Patrick T McGuire says:

    Tax cuts are deficit spending ….

    Uh,no! Tax cuts are reduced income. Spending more than your income is deficit spending.

    There should be a requirement of at least a 5th grade education before one can post a comment here.




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  4. odograph says:

    You need to acknowledge the truth Steve, that the field of macroeconomics has failed us. Highlighting folk on one side of the break doesn’t do that, not unless your audience is up on the full drama.

    I might stop even collecting stories under “The Backlash Continues” now that they are so well acknowledged, now that the failure is so broadly accepted.




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  5. G.A.Phillips says:

    There should be a requirement of at least a 5th grade education before one can post a comment here.

    but I like posting here, I’m gonna tell Obama on you!!!!




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  6. Michael says:

    More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

    Maybe we should start a war.

    Oh wait…




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  7. odograph says:

    More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.

    Maybe we should start a war.

    Oh wait…

    Exactly. One of our problems now is that the Bush years already had the levers pulled, trying as hard as they could for a deficit driven recovery. When tax cuts, deficit, and a war run 100% on debt dug this hole, what to do?

    I think the answer is that we have to deleverage. We have to scale back consumption and live within our real means, not the means we wish we had, or the means we could pretend we had with massive inflows of Chinese savings.

    But cut the patient off, and he might die. The economy might need some methadone during the withdrawal.




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  8. Steve Plunk says:

    Those who have weak arguments seek to quash debate by either declaring it already over or painting the opposition as partisan tools. Krugman wants no debate and stoops again.

    Spending stimulus and tax cuts both cause deficits. The question is which is the more effective path to economic recovery. An honest debate is necessary.




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  9. Michael says:

    Spending stimulus and tax cuts both cause deficits. The question is which is the more effective path to economic recovery. An honest debate is necessary.

    Depends on what is actually causing the economy to suffer. Can we have an honest debate about that first?




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  10. Steve Verdon says:

    Exactly. One of our problems now is that the Bush years already had the levers pulled, trying as hard as they could for a deficit driven recovery. When tax cuts, deficit, and a war run 100% on debt dug this hole, what to do?

    So your thesis is that the tax cuts, deficit spending and the war in Iraq are the cause for the financial/real estate meltdown? Really?

    I think the answer is that we have to deleverage. We have to scale back consumption and live within our real means, not the means we wish we had, or the means we could pretend we had with massive inflows of Chinese savings.

    But cut the patient off, and he might die. The economy might need some methadone during the withdrawal.

    Interesting analogy, but your “methadone” is really the drug that got us in to trouble in the first place…using your analogy. If “methadone” is big government spending it is that chinese savings you noted. Further, it is an attempt to try and get back to the level of consumption that was unsustainable to your analogy. Actually, a crappy analogy.

    Depends on what is actually causing the economy to suffer. Can we have an honest debate about that first?

    So it was all the Bush tax cuts? Really? Care to explain that mechanism?




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  11. Michael says:

    So it was all the Bush tax cuts? Really? Care to explain that mechanism?

    Slow down there, Steve, I wasn’t making any accusations towards anybody.

    I honestly don’t know what the hell the actual problem is now, people are losing their jobs because nobody is buying from their company, because people have less money, because they’re losing their job, because…

    All the pieces of the machine are there, it’s just not moving. I don’t care anymore what made it stop, what’s preventing it from starting again?




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  12. Drew says:

    and one more time for the mentally impaired, Spending in excess of revenue is deficit spending.

    Say it again, say it till it’s part of your DNA, anyone telling you that deficit spending is bad but spending is good is cognitively unable to grasp this issue.(and let me be clear, I’m not saying this is DeMents position. His writing is so bad it’s tough to figure out just what he is actually for.)




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  13. odograph says:

    Steve, I was down on debt and down on consumption before it was popular. Well, it still isn’t popular, is it?

    Are you actually ready for the hard crash in American consumerism that you are asking for?

    (I actually am for that simpler and less debt ridden life, I’m just open to the idea of doing it in a curve and not a crash.)




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  14. Steve Verdon says:

    Odograph,

    Don’t mistake my take on your analogy as my actual position.

    My thinking is as follows:

    1. We are going to have a tough recession.
    2. The stimulus spending wont do much if any good.
    3. In the end we’ll be pretty much where we would have been if nothing was done, but with a whole bunch of new debt.

    So tell me again how you favor less debt yet at the same time increasing debt?

    Oh, and recall back during the previous recession how many attacked Bush for his tax cuts that simply “returned us to trend”? That is what this bill is supposed to do. Why was Bush’s bad and this one good? We were in a recession and Bush’s reasons may have been wrong but the timing was fortuitous.




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  15. odograph says:

    So tell me again how you favor less debt yet at the same time increasing debt?

    A step function as opposed to a cliff?

    On the tax cuts, my horror was at the Nordquisting of the party (“I don’t care about X, as long as I get my tax cut”).




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  16. Rick DeMent says:

    Drew,

    Sorry I wasn’t writing a blog post, it was a comment. As for what I am for I’m all for being honest about what we are talking about.

    Uh,no! Tax cuts are reduced income. Spending more than your income is deficit spending.

    There should be a requirement of at least a 5th grade education before one can post a comment here.

    But spending is not being reduced, no one has proposed reduced spending in the GOP other then vague noises about reducing entitlements and getting rid of pork (none of which will even start to match the lost revenue of the “tax cut”). So using your 5th grade education you can see that what the Republicans are proposing is borrowing money and giving it away based on the tax code. Viola! deficit spending.

    The truth is that all the parties are arguing about is how to distribute the money they plan on borrowing. It’s disingenuous to call the tax cuts anything other then deficit spending, just as it’s disingenuous to call the spending “stimulus”. The point of the spending will be to ease the pin of the contraction, and to make a down payment on needed infrastructure. The welfare checks disguised as tax cuts are the pain easing part.

    Oh, and recall back during the previous recession how many attacked Bush for his tax cuts that simply “returned us to trend”? That is what this bill is supposed to do. Why was Bush’s bad and this one good? We were in a recession and Bush’s reasons may have been wrong but the timing was fortuitous.

    I’m not happy about the tax cuts, didn’t like them then, don’t like them now. The problem is that foggy-headed thinking has made it so you can’t do deficit spending unless you’re willing to dress it up as a tax cut. Obama feels he has to put some “tax cut” in there to get bi-partisan support. I get that from a political perspective. from a policy perspective I am against using the tax code to address financial problems.

    If we need to spend, then spend. Let’s not kid ourselves about whats going on. I mean come on gang let’s remember that the first round of “tax cutting” was to “return tax money to taxpayers” because we were in surplus. That almost immediately morphed into a “growth and investment stimulus” when we discovered there would be no surplus. For crying out loud, “tax cuts” is there really anything they can’t do?
    And while we’re at it, let’s get down to brass tacks regarding “pork”. Pork is spending the other party gets to do and typically nothing more. Remember Tom Foley’s battle cry “my earmarks are pretty important.”




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