When I look upon my mirror and ask it to name me the fairest Keynesian in the land, he says Mecha Lekka Hi Mecha Hiney Ho. But when prompted again, he says it’s Karl Smith. For example, in a recent post Karl put a picture of Ron Paul’s End the Fed and then said this:
I have been a staunch supporter of an independent central bank technocratically solving the problem of macroeconomic management
Yet, now I must watch as one of the most powerful Central Bank in the world, the Federal Reserve, can’t come to consensus on what it wants to do and has decided that perhaps Rome should burn just a little bit more while it has additional meetings on the relative merits of bucket brigades versus opening the aqueducts.
Its counterpart the European Central Bank, has apparently decided that what the fire really needs is a bit more oil, lest the people think the bank is more committed to putting out fires than lecturing people on fire prevention.
Let us not even speak of the Bank of Japan which perhaps should be disbanded out of mercy for the central bankers if nothing else.
I have not lost all faith –Sweden and Switzerland still stand – but it is hard to watch this carnival of human suffering and believe that we supporters of central banking are not part of the problem.
And that’s the whole post. There’s not a “P.S. John Taylor drowns kittens for sport” at the tail end. Nope, Karl isn’t throwing in the towel, but he’s at least acknowledging that there might be something wrong with his position.
In contrast, our more famous Keynesians bloggers are so out of touch with their opponents that–get this–Matt Yglesias tries to prove that Paul Krugman doesn’t always support big government, by linking to an article from 2000 (Yglesias has a typo and says 2008) in which Krugman opposed tax cuts. Yes you read that right: Yglesias was trying to show that Krugman sometimes is a fan of smaller government, by linking to an article where Krugman deployed economic analysis to oppose tax cuts.
(In case you are too busy to click the links, I’ll give you the trick: Yglesias subconsciously took “supporter of bigger deficit” ==> “supporter of bigger government” and thus concluded that “opponent of tax cuts that would give a big deficit” ==> “an opponent of bigger government.”)
So in conclusion, I can recognize fair Keynesians when I see them. I don’t pounce on Krugman because he presses for big government–I pounce on him because he is the epitome of a partisan hack (on his blog), and has the audacity to lecture others on their ideological biases. (I also obsess with Krugman because he’s such a good exponent of the Keynesian view. Like Russ Roberts, I claim that Krugman picks his conclusions based on his ideology, but I love Krugman because he tries to demonstrate his conclusions using economic models.)
Karl Smith is a Keynesian, and some of his positions shock me, but I think he is a fair guy and is just honestly mistaken. Maybe give the guy a spell checker, and the truth will eventually out.