Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Mainstream Pounds on Krugman "Thumb on the Scale"; Austrians Knew About Krugman's Thumb for a Long Time

Harvard economists Kenneth Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart have accused Paul Krugman of “spectacularly uncivil behavior” in part of a five page letter.

They also said to Krugman in the letter:
You have attacked us in very personal terms, virtually nonstop, in your New York Times column and blog posts. Now you have doubled down in the New York Review of Books, adding the accusation we didn’t share our data.Your characterization of our work and of our policy impact is selective and shallow. It is deeply misleading about where we stand on the issues.  And we would respectfully submit, your logic and evidence on the policy substance is not nearly as compelling as you imply.
David Warsh writes:
 This one surely cinches the case that [Krugman] should never win a Pulitzer Prize. The habitual thumb on the scale has become contempt for the balance itself.
James Hamilton writes:
 Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have posted an open letter to Paul Krugman to try to correct some of the misrepresentations of their scholarship that continue to be repeated by people who should know better[...]The smear campaign had only one purpose-- to distract people from thinking clearly about the consequences of the current high debt loads of many of the world's countries. On this fundamental question you can also find much to help set the record straight in Reinhart and Rogoff's open letter.
Scott Sumner writes:
I used to think that Ken Rogoff’s 2002 letter to Joe Stiglitz was the most devastating demolition of the arguments of an esteemed (but rude) economist that I’d ever read.  But now we have a new open letter to Paul Krugman.
It is interesting that the mainstream is waking up to Krugman's tactics, now that he has attacked fellow Keynesians. Austrian's have warned of his tactics right along. Here's Bill Anderson writing about Krugman just before the latest dust up:
As I have written many times before, Paul Krugman no longer is an economist, if he ever was one. Instead, he is a political operative, someone who gives partisan political rants and pawns it off as Deep Economic Thinking.
His recent column on gold and people who favor it is more of the same, and he once again impugns the character of anyone who might disagree with him on the subject.
Anderson early on explained another Krugman dirty trick and tied it in with how he used it against Austrians and, also, Reinhart-Rogoff:
 Paul Krugman has become the master of picking up the stray phrase and claiming that it is standard policy. The Wall Street Journal, for example, years ago used "bond vigilantes" in an editorial warning about taking on more debt, and now Krugman wants us to think that every editorial in the WSJ repeats the same error.

Someone in the Austrian camp said that large-scale inflation could be in our future, so now every Austrian is predicting hyperinflation all of the time. And since we don't have hyperinflation, why then every aspect of Austrian Economics must be totally wrong.

Today, Krugman is claiming that an error in an influential paper written by Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff of Harvard is responsible for "destroy(ing) the economies of the Western world." According to the paper, if a government's debt exceeds 90 percent of a nation's GDP, then economic growth will tail off "sharply." However, some researchers looking at the data have concluded that the paper's methodology was fatally flawed and that there was no real 90 percent threshold, although higher levels of debt did correlate with lower growth rates.

According to Krugman, this paper was the deciding factor in "austerity" plans for governments in the West, and since "austerity" is bad, the paper played an important role in economic destruction. However, there is only one problem with that thesis: Krugman's commentary itself undercuts the paper's influence.  He writes: "For the truth is that Reinhart-Rogoff faced substantial criticism from the start, and the controversy grew over time."
Note well: Mainstream sees Krugman's "thumb on the scale," when he attacks one of their own, but somehow MSM doesn't see a damn thing when he uses that thumb against Austrians. However, at least now, when Krugman tries one of his dirty tricks against, we will be able to point to MSM identifying his dirty tricks and say,"Look there, he is doing it again."

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