Krugman, 1980 And All That

Dan here…Paul Krugman New York Times Dec. 24 notes Robert’s thinking on current story lines by some economists in macromedia.  Other posts by Robert on the subject can be found here, herehere, and here.  Krugman writes:

 Robert Waldmann is shocked, shocked, to find conservative economists not doing their homework:

Even now, I am shocked that economists didn’t bother to look up the data on FRED before making nonsensical claims of fact.

But this is typical; it applies to issues across the board. The same people know that growth has been much faster since financial deregulation and the Reagan tax cuts, except that it hasn’t; they know that Reagan was the only president to oversee the creation of millions of jobs, because there never was a Clinton boom; they know that there has been unprecedented growth in government spending under Obama, when the reality is the opposite. At this point you shouldn’t be surprised.

Still, why this failure to do even the simplest homework? In general, people on the right seem to do economic history (and probably history in general) using the principle of 1066 And All That: “history is what you remember”, often what you sort of think you remember. They hear everyone around them saying stuff, repeat it, and that becomes what everyone knows; the idea of checking the facts themselves never seems to arise…

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