This Robert Samuelson piece on the inherent problem with Keynesian economic theory – which, in my opinion, can be summed up neatly as “First, assume that your planned economy will be managed forever by an immortal, unelected, and incorruptible Keynesian economist” – is pretty good, but it has one passage in it that makes my teeth ache. Here it is, in all of its questionable glory:
For the record, I supported Obama’s stimulus – though disliking some details – and, under similar circumstances, would again. The economy was in a tailspin; the stimulus provided a psychological and spending boost. But how much is less clear. As Romer notes, estimating the effect is “incredibly hard.” For example, the Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of added jobs from the stimulus ranged from 700,000 to 3.3 million for 2010.
We’re going to unpack this, sentence by sentence. Because it has to be unpacked. (more…)