Pursuit of Truthiness

my gut tells me I know economics

Epistemological Modesty and the Stimulus

leave a comment »

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.

Advertisements

Written by James Bailey

February 25, 2009 at 5:53 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: