Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Archive for February 2009

Epistemological Modesty and the Stimulus

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David Brooks’ NYT column introduces a useful framework for evaluating the stimulus and economic policy.  In the short term this a welcome exhortation for less grandiose plans.  In the medium term, the stimulus and bailout packages will provide an excellent test for the potential of government planning.  I hope people will look back two and five years from now at our current economic policies using the lenses provided in the column.  An except:

President Obama has concentrated enormous power on a few aides in the West Wing of the White House. These aides are unrolling a rapid string of plans: to create three million jobs, to redesign the health care system, to save the auto industry, to revive the housing industry, to reinvent the energy sector, to revitalize the banks, to reform the schools — and to do it all while cutting the deficit in half.

If ever this kind of domestic revolution were possible, this is the time and these are the people to do it. The crisis demands a large response. The people around Obama are smart and sober. Their plans are bold but seem supple and chastened by a realistic sensibility.

Yet they set off my Burkean alarm bells. I fear that in trying to do everything at once, they will do nothing well. I fear that we have a group of people who haven’t even learned to use their new phone system trying to redesign half the U.S. economy.

Written by James Bailey

February 25, 2009 at 5:53 am

More links

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1. Darwin- very gradual change we can believe in.

2. Political Truth in Advertising- What would Obama and McCain look like if they wore NASCAR-style uniforms celecrating their sponsors?  Something like this.

3.  When companies mock their own customers.  Brilliant, though Hipsters do get it a lot.

4.  On Role Models and Their Bongs. A little late to post about the Phelps controversy but the analysis and especially the quotes are as true as ever.  Clearly some refer to hemp as a material and others to alcohol prohibition, and I wonder about the authenticity of the rest.  But if true the Lincoln, Sagan and Obama quotes are incredible and a real indictment of parts of the current culture and legal system.

Written by James Bailey

February 22, 2009 at 11:18 pm

Posted in links, marijuana, Politics