My Naïveté

3 December 2009 at 2:58 pm 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

I hoped Christy Romer would be a voice of reason within Obama’s economic team. What was I thinking? If yesterday’s WSJ op-ed is any indication, her role has been reduced to that of cheerleader for the President’s preposterous “stimulus” program. The editorial is a string of banalities, unsupported by argument or evidence, about the wonderful effects of stimulus and the need to “confront the challenges” that remain. For example, noting that real GDP increased slightly in the third quarter of 2009, after a sharp fall in the first quarter, she says that the “vast majority of professional forecasters attribute much of this dramatic turnaround to the fiscal stimulus.” Professional forecasters? Of course, we have no idea what GDP would have been in the absence of stimulus. And what of the secondary consequences, both short- and long-term? What of the unseen? She even praises the cash-for-clunkers program, recently skewered by my old friend John Chapman.

She knows all this. As Christy’s teaching assistant at Berkeley I saw her explain, patiently and carefully, how government programs have side effects, often unintended (she specifically used the airplane-child-safety-seat example of the Peltzman effect). All forgotten now. Some version of Lord Acton’s dictum, I guess.

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Bailout / Financial Crisis, People, Public Policy / Political Economy.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. REW  |  4 December 2009 at 2:39 pm

    Ah, naïf! You lost the cheerleader to the captain of the football team…

    In praise of youthful naïveté:

  • 2. simone  |  4 December 2009 at 9:13 pm

    Taking the position was enough proof that she cares little for the truth. Christy chose ideology over truth when she agreed to be on Obama’s team. Her willingness to cheerlead what she would have graded as incorrect thinking as a professor suggest she is unethical at the core. Not fit for a real economics position.

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