Saturday, February 12, 2011

Mankiw Calls Out Both Obama and Gingrich in the Same Column


Harvard economist, and the world's greatest economic text book salesman, Greg Mankiw. manges to take on both President Obama and Newt Gingrich in his NYT column, today. It's probably the best column he has ever written for NYT. It's sound, points out glaring errors in the economic thinking of Obama and Gingrich and explains how things should be looked at if one actually understood economic fundamentals. He starts off this way:

 IN his State of the Union address last month, President Obama set the stage for a coming policy debate and his re-election bid with a catch phrase. Six times, he called on Americans to “win the future.” And he used the variant “winning the future” three other times. But is this really a good way to frame the economic challenges we face?

No doubt, the phrase appealed to White House political advisers and speechwriters. It is always better for presidents to focus on our future potential than the immutable past. And who doesn’t want to win? Americans love rooting for their favorite teams, and no contest seems more vital than that for international economic dominance.
Yet this catch phrase is also problematic. For one thing, “Winning the Future” was the title of a 2005 book by Newt Gingrich. It is almost as if Mr. Gingrich were to run for president in 2012 under the banner “Audacious Hope.” And then there is that pesky abbreviated form of the phrase — WTF — that does not exactly inspire confidence.
More troublesome to me as an economist, though, is that calling on Americans to “win the future” misleads us about the nature of the policy choices ahead. Achieving economic prosperity is not like winning a game, and guiding an economy is not like managing a sports team.
Read the rest here.

No comments:

Post a Comment