Friday, May 10, 2013

Do Either One of Them Have A Clue?


Adam Davidson wrote a long piece last week in the Times magazine about Larry Summers and Glen Hubbard, representing them as two ends  in the spectrum of current macroeconomic thought. Times readers however, seem to understand with great clarity that these fabulously successful (and well compensated ) academic economists have much more in common with each other (and with us, alas) than with the vast majority of citizens whose lives their policies and ideas have affected.

From the comments section,

Luboman411  from New York

"So, let me get this straight--the men who were largely responsible for pushing policies that led to deregulation, most egregiously the repeal of Glass-Steagall (Summer, Rubin, Greenspan et al. in the 1990s--the "Committee to Save the World", as infamously written on a "Time Magazine" headline sometime in the late 1990s) and tax-cutting at all costs (Hubbard during George W. Bush administration) are now at it again with solutions to problems they helped create? How is this possible? How are these men not discredited for coming up with models, and then policies, that directly or indirectly blew up the world economy in 2008?...  

Equally credentialed people who more or less studied the economic distortions leading up to the 2008 crisis, and predicted how that impending crisis would unfold--the likes of Paul Krugman, Nouriel Roubini and Robert Shiller--are never given this much press ink or given such august platforms like the "New York Times Magazine" to explain in detail their pet theories. There is something wrong with a system that keeps lauding people who are brilliant, but whose economic theories utterly failed in the real world, at the expense of people who actually got it right the first time around (and who could conceivably be right the second time around too)."

Dave K from Cleveland

Larry Summers has been frequently wrong (or disingenuous) about the consequences of his policies, most notably about the effects of the free trade agreements that were the hallmarks of his tenure at Treasury. It turned out that Ross Perot was essentially right about the purpose of those agreements: Move manufacturing overseas. Summers also was a complete failure as president of Harvard.

Hubbard, on the other hand, is advocating the cruel idea that we should cut back on taking care of our elderly just so we can keep taxes low for Wall St. These people, whether they admit it or not, are selling out their own parents or grandparents for cash. Social Security isn't just abstract numbers, it's making it possible for our elderly to not be begging on the streets or dropping dead of starvation and exposure.

Might I cast a vote for "None of the above"?"

I'm with Dave K. If these guys are the best we can do, we're in whole lot of trouble. Which of course, we are.


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