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The Uselessness of Paul Krugman

That’s why a list of economists can include Karl Marx, Milton Friedman, Adam Smith, John Keynes, Ludwig Von Mises, and J.K. Galbraith. They share no inviolate principles or even common subject boundaries, only a common interest in how societies produce and consume.

To call economics a social science is no insult, as human society is certainly worthy of study. The danger is that social sciences are especially vulnerable to subjectivity and political bias.

Still, before anyone makes the feeble relativist argument that there are no good and bad economists and each has their own valid view, let’s defer to Henry Hazlitt, an economist and writer for the Wall Street Journal who is credited with bringing Hayek ‘s Road to Serfdom to the American reader:

The art of economics consists in looking not merely at the immediate but at the longer effects of any act or policy; it consists in tracing the consequences of that policy not merely for one group but for all groups.

In just one line from his insightful, accessible, and freely available book, Economics in One Lesson, Hazlitt tells you where to find the Forgotten Man -- just keep looking around and ahead.

By this definition, and by any reasonable application of critical thinking, the Obama administration is getting their advice from bad economists.

For despite their Ph.Ds, they can’t or won’t think through the long-term consequences of a nanny-state blank check government that can take over car companies with no vote, reorganize the health care or energy industry in a few weeks of debate, and spend a trillion dollars it doesn’t have on stuff it doesn’t need.

If Krugman wants to write an article about how economists got it so wrong, that’s low hanging fruit. Just explain why people like him, who undoubtedly know better, feel compelled to carry the progressives' water and give their policies credence. Why does he follow the party line instead of doing genuine analysis and research?

For example, what is his opinion of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae? Was it a good idea to funnel taxpayer dollars into the riskiest home mortgages? The past, present, and future of our multi-trillion dollar progressive loan-guarantee programs is one of the most important economic issues facing our nation and was at the core of the financial crisis, but predictably Krugman doesn’t spare a word in his lengthy article.

The irony is that your job, or at least your career, is probably more secure than Krugman’s. Not just because he works for the troubled New York Times, an economic satire of itself, but because the role of a progressive cheerleader with a graduate degree in economics seems like a much easier one to fill than that of a genuine scientist.

As a modern-day Lysenko, he contributes nothing to the field, but simply burns through whatever credibility he once had at a dizzying rate. He didn’t predict the financial crisis, and he was wrong about the stimulus. As the errors, justifications, and blusters mount, at a certain point even the progressives will tire of him and look for someone else that can sell the story without reminding us of their past failings.

Still, as long as there are progressive funds flowing to progressive publications and organizations, there will be progressive economists. It’s just their job to use their credentials to convince and confuse, promoting social justice and progressive causes in the guise of economic science.

And for those of us not on the Soros-ACORN payroll, it’s our job as intelligent American citizens to discredit them before they can do any further damage. As Hazlitt wrote in 1946:

We are already suffering the long-run consequences of the policies of the remote or recent past. Today is already the tomorrow which the bad economist yesterday urged us to ignore.