Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Feeling is Mutual!

Yeah, well, I'm gonna punch the next person who mistakes me for Paul Krugman.


Ilíon said...


Like so many "liberals," the man appears to be unable to read (even when quoting that to which he objects) ... or, perhaps it's that he's unable to differentiate himself from his ideology.

Neil B said...

Yeah, cute joke based on blog handles but Krugman is basically right that we need stimulus to get a faltering economy going. It just doesn't happen on its own, that's the whole point of our having had an economic crisis (based mostly on irresponsible private actors, with government fiddling as per the Macs being a smaller cut.)

You could reasonably argue that "background" Keynesianism is wrong - but that leaves intact the moderated, reactive version which says we should act strongly to intervene when things go bad. Then we can work down the deficit like we did during the Clinton years as opposed to the W. Bush years (remember him?)

Crude said...

How can I forget him? People are still campaigning against him.

I wasn't posting this to give any comment on economic policy - I thought it was funny, nothing more - but I recall we already got a stimulus. Supposedly one in excess of what Krugman asked for. It apparently didn't work, and we're now supposedly heading for a great depression.

Neil B said...

No, the stimulus was less than people like Krugman wanted, and he and others specifically warned against that. See for example my link to Zandar's blog, and look at a link from his post:
Of course they want more since that's what we should have done already. If we didn't have the little stimulus, we'd be in deep depression.

Heh, my Captcha is "spitecus"!

Crude said...

According to this, the stimulus provided was not "too small" until after the fact.

787$ bill is "little stimulus"? Good God, what's the big one?

To me, this is coming very close to saying that what this country really needs to boost the economy is a rain dance. And that last rain dance didn't work because not enough people put their hearts into it. But enough did in order to keep the mighty Godzilla from rising out of the ocean and laying waste to the eastern seaboard.

Neil B said...

No, Crude, you analogy is utterly pointless because we really were in a severe downturn and credit crunch, we know what usually happens in such cases, so we do have a logical right to talk about expectations of "what would have happened if ...." (REM this problem infects decision making in general, there's no easy answer to dealing with proof of counterfactual conditionals. It's life.) A nice "big one" would have been around $1T.

Economics is not as precise as physical science but we can know something ... The idea has support from non-liberal economists like Mark Zandi. If you have a specific counter-argument, go for it, but don't muddy things up with frivolous pretend comparisons. tx

Ilíon said...

You simply can't reason wih these people, Crude; it's impossible.

Crude said...

I'm telling you what it sounds like to me, and that's what it does. You're more than welcome to tell me that I'm getting the wrong impression, but there better be more to it than "No, you're wrong, because we totally know things in this case and we totally don't in your illustration". At least, it better be more than that if you want me to take it seriously.

"Experts agree with me" is not an argument, just like "Sure seems like voodoo" isn't an argument. If we're going to play the experts game, I'll just cite whatever experts think Krugman is full of shit. "The Mises advocates / the Austrian school".

But, I would like to know your reply on the Krugman link I posted. It really seems to be the case that Krugman said we needed 600 bill, 787 bill was provided, and then Krugman after-the-fact said 787 bill was not enough.

Crude said...

The thing is, I didn't even make comment one on economic policy. I just thought the post was funny and that's all. I don't have radically strong feelings on economic policy - at most, a few instincts. I'm vastly more concerned with cultural topics than economic ones, since I think the former seriously impact the latter.

But hey, I'll gladly discuss it for a bit. Nice change of pace I suppose.

Neil B said...

[URL fixed]
Crude - you didn't originally make comment one on economic policy! I know, it was a joke like I said ... but Ilíon piles on with a put-down of Krugman so I'm just piling back on that. As for your comparison - it's a false dichotomy to think that economics has to be either a perfect science or pure voodoo. As best I can gather, it's somewhere in between. Agreeing with experts? Well, I won't just plumb take their word for it, but the important thing is - do I have a reason to disagree?

In this case, given what I hear about the Depression, WWII etc. I think the majority is basically right, but I don't really have radically strong feelings on economic policy either. (I prefer natural science, please drop back in for that.) It is a mistake to think that agreeing with experts doesn't carry weight, even if they don't have to be right. That is a typical pitfall of those who overly abhor "fallacies" - they don't realize that a fallacy is just telling us a line of reasoning does not have to give a correct result the way syllogisms do. Many so-called informal fallacies cover up some good bets. It's a good bet they're likely right or on to something, and the prudent burden of proof is on the contrary.

Yes there is another school, but I'm not as impressed with them. Should I be? For me the situation is roughly reversed: if you can give me a reason to disagree with the faction I like, then I'll be impressed.

As for the specifics of what Krugman wanted, here he goes over the stimulus as planned and saying it isn't enough (not a specific figure, just not enough.)

I see commenter one threw out the cliché snotty and empty phrase "you can't reason with these people" despite no genuine reasoning being given, of course. But maybe Ilíon has a point. Dick Cheney said, "Reagan taught us deficits don't matter." He must be one of those people who can't be reasoned with.

Crude said...

I'd love for any economist to say what you just said. "Economics isn't pure voodoo or perfect science. It's somewhere in between." I'd like to think Krugman got a Nobel for doing something that's midway between particle physics and offering a live sacrifice to a giant statue of FDR.

(Pardon me, I can't resist kidding around here.)

And honestly, the fact that you're trying to turn this into a left-right issue - bringing up Bush, and now Cheney - just makes me even more skeptical of this conversation. Once the party colors go up, I surmise reason has left the building.

My views of both parties are at an all-time low. I have sympathies for the Republicans in the same way that a shopowner may prefer the crips who (aside from now and then shoplifting or putting graffiti on his door) leave his store alone rather than the bloods who try to out and out wreck it at times.

Either way, I'm not interested in arguing over which side is more right here. My own suspicion is that, at this point, it hardly matters what we do given our established debt, the plans of our politicians, and the habits of the voters. Even Krugman is agreeing with Vox Day and others that a great depression is coming and likely can't be avoided. They'll disagree about why, and if anyone at all learns a good lesson should said depression come to pass, it will be a miracle.