Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Krugman Does It Again

Krugman responds in his blog today to a column by David Brooks in the same venue; or at least he seems to think he is responding to what Brooks is saying in his column. Krugman’s standard of proof is typically thin when he responds to Brooks’ assertion that “The Demand Siders don’t have a good explanation for the past two years.”

“Funny, I thought we had a perfectly good explanation: severe downturn in demand from the financial crisis, and a stimulus which we warned from the beginning wasn’t nearly big enough. And as I’ve been trying to point out, events have strongly confirmed a demand-side view of the world.”

Funny indeed, claiming that something didn’t work constitutes proof of theory in Paul Krugman’s world. If the stimulus actually had been bigger and if it actually had created recovery, that would have “strongly confirmed a demand-side view.” But merely claiming that, “If it had been bigger it would have worked,” does not prove anything to anyone who has an IQ above room temperature.

For a man with a Nobel and a stratospheric IQ, Paul Krugman tends to use the most lame and indefensible arguments of logic I can imagine. I’m open to his theories, but he has not proved them to me with the kind of arguments he has used so far.

Brooks goes on and asks a, to me, fairly reasonable question, “Are you sure your theorists are right and theirs are wrong?” In fact, I have asked that question here before, and have challenged the constant refrain that quotes Krugman’s theories as if they were facts rather than theories. Even if they worked one time, which is actually rather questionable itself, it remains only a theory that they will function in all circumstances. In response to Brooks’ question, Krugman immodestly replies,

“Yes, I am. It’s called looking at the evidence. I’ve looked hard at the arguments the Pain Caucus is making, the evidence that supposedly supports their case — and there’s no there there.”

He then goes on to “refute” the other side's theories by listing, not failures of recovery measures, but the economic collapse itself, and then finishes with another real treasure of modesty,

“The moral I’ve taken from recent years isn’t Be Humble — it’s Question Authority. And you should too.”

Question Authority, but don’t question Paul Krugman.

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