Random Thoughts

* Eric Boehlert’s has an interesting piece on Powell in Salon today, worth watching an ad or subscribing.

* Max Sawicky has a letter to the New York Times by Prof. Gregory Mankiw (incoming CEA chair).

* CalPundit’s has some funny quotes from House Republicans on Bush blaming them for the budget that Bush submitted to Congress not having sufficient anti-terrorism funds.

* Here’s a story that’s been going around on Mankiw–some conservatives fear he’s not sufficiently idealogically committed to tax cuts and deficits as far as the eye can see. Steven Moore penned a disingenuous at best piece for The National Review that included this quote:

The good news is there are a multitude of brilliant supply-side academics [emphasis added] who would be superb chief economists at the White House. I am thinking of talented people like Brian Wesbury of Chicago, Richard Vedder of Ohio University, and David Malpass of Bear Stearns.

Doesn’t it make you think that Wesbury is from the University of Chicago and that Vedder is from Ohio State University? Economists routinely say “she’s at Chicago” or “he’s from Ohio” to refer to these two institutions. The Chicago reference is even more clever because of Chicago’s reputation for being a conservative Economics department (it’s the home of Milton Friedman, after all), so it’s easy to mentally insert “university of” when you read Moore’s almost-surely-intentionally misleading phrase (I am, incomparably, sounding like Bob Somerby). But John Quiggin, a blogger from Down Under, did some homework:

A short Google search reveals all. Not only is David Malpass not an academic, he doesn’t hold an economics qualification of any kind (he has an undergraduate physics degree and an MBA), though this hasn’t stopped him becoming chief economist at Bear Stearns. Wesbury is “Brian Wesbury of Chicago” in the same sense as millions of other people – he works for a bank in Chicago – but at least his undergraduate degree is in economics. On the other hand, Richard Vedder is a genuine but obscure academic, and Ohio University is a real but obscure university (at least in relation to economics).

Brad DeLong has more to say about Steven Moore here (surprisingly, it’s not all positive). And Kieran Healy noticed that NR replaced the phrase “brilliant supply-side academics” with just “brilliant supply-siders”, but didn’t change or clarify the misleading affiliations.