The Thoughtful President
| Peter Klein |
The President’s supporters portray him as thoughtful, well-informed, and deliberative. Unlike his predecessor, who acted on impulse, rarely considered dissenting points of view, and lived in a protective bubble, Obama reads, understands alternative perspectives, and thinks through arguments. Look how long it took him to decide on an Afghanistan policy!
And yet, on economic policy, the President is shockingly parochial. He has repeatedly challenged critics of his stimulus program to “produce a single economist” who opposes his actions. Anyone who disagrees with massive government borrowing and expenditures to “rescue” the economy is simply an obfuscationist, a partisan trying to score cheap political points at the expense of the national good. I think Obama genuinely believes this. He’s certain he’s right, so criticism bewilders him. He simply can’t fathom that there might be honest disagreement on basic economic issues. For Obama, the range of macroeconomic opinion runs from, say, Krugman to Summers. It’s like Pauline Kael’s famous line that Nixon couldn’t have won in 1972 because “no one I know voted for him.”
Of course, I’m not expecting a White House invitation for me and my friends to present Austrian business-cycle theory. But you’d think he might listen to Cochrane, Zingales, Mulligan, Becker, Glaeser, or even Mankiw.
This is our thoughtful, well-informed, deliberative Chief Executive?