Greg Mankiw Claims Jared Bernstein is Mistaken to Call Him a Hypocrit

Jared Bernstein did say:

Economists sometimes serve vested interests, and will change their views accordingly. The best example is also one of the best economists, Greg Mankiw. This textbook-writing Harvard prof was Bush’s chief economist for awhile, and during his confirmation hearing and subsequent tenure at the White House, he constantly defended Bushonomics, including supply-side beliefs that he once argued were the musings of “cranks and charlatans.” Now, Mankiw may well have felt he could do the nation more good if he were working from the inside, trying to nudge the administration’s economic policy in a better direction (if so, he failed). But if we’re going to argue in support of ideas on Monday that we correctly dismissed as nutty last Friday, we’re unlikely to be either correct or credible.

Greg Mankiw objects:

Jared Bernstein, a bigshot at the left-wing thinktank Economic Policy Institute, seems to think I am a hypocrite.

Now we’re getting personal. But there is a problem with what Greg said as Max Sawicky notes:

But the question is whether Mankiw’s performance at the CEA was faithful to his academic militance. For that one would have to dredge up CEA statements that conflict with textbook and other academic statements. In his book, NGM is forthright that the giant revenue response from a tax cut is hokum. In his testimony, he is less emphatic, or as he puts it, “skeptical” of such claims. Moreover, he asserted that the Bush Administration did not adhere to the “extreme” view

That’s sort of like saying this White House never claimed Saddam and Osama were linked. Max also reminds us of what Brendan Nyhan said when Mankiw went after McCain’s conversion to free lunch supply-side-ism:

But what Mankiw doesn’t mention is President Bush and Vice President Cheney’s expressed “fealty to the most extreme supply-side views,” which Mankiw conspicuously failed to change during his tenure as chair of the Council of Economic Advisers from 2003 to 2005. Indeed, during his Senate confirmation hearing, Mankiw was asked about claims that tax cuts were self-financing, and he disavowed them, saying “I remain skeptical of those claims.” However, he also stated that he thought the administration had not made such claims, which was – and is – false

Brendan also asks whether Mankiw will keep Mitt Romney from making free lunch claims. So far – it is an open question. Brad DeLong has more.