I am not sure everyone fully got my point about Krugman in this last post.
Look, Krugman has been absolutely apoplectic the last 3 years, jumping up and down on his blog, complaining that the press and public keep taking seriously the people who have “gotten everything totally wrong” in the crisis. He keeps lamenting that he used to think economic science was objective, and that someone’s credibility would be based on the predictions of his models. In the post I linked above, I quoted him as complaining that the people in charge in Europe, were the ones who had proved so incompetent in predicting the results of so-called austerity.
Now then, Ben Bernanke was hilariously wrong, at every step along the way, from 2005 through 2008 in the latter stages of the housing bubble.
Yet this is what Krugman said in August 2009 when Ben Bernanke was reappointed. Remember, this occurred after 4 straight years of non-stop error and failed predictions from Bernanke’s economic model:
Generally, I’m pleased. Bernanke has done a good job in the crisis — he’s been far more aggressive and creative than almost anyone else would have been in his place, partly because he’s a scholar of the Great Depression, partly because he took Japan’s lost decade seriously and was therefore intellectually prepared for a liquidity-trap world.
I do have one qualm, though, which isn’t really about Bernanke, but rather about the broader symbolism of the reappointment — namely, it unfortunately seems to be a reaffirmation of Serious Person Syndrome, aka it’s better to have been conventionally wrong than unconventionally right.
Thus, you’re not considered serious on national security unless you bought the case for invading Iraq, even though the skeptics were completely right; you’re not considered a serious political commentator unless you dismissed all the things those reflexive anti-Bushists were saying, even though they all turn out to have been true; and you’re not considered serious about economic policy unless you dismissed warnings about a housing bubble and waved off worries about future crises.
That said, Ben Bernanke’s performance over the past year deserves praise, and there’s nobody I’d rather have in his position. Congratulations, Ben.
I mean, you almost get the sense that Krugman doesn’t care about predictive track records, and merely has an affinity for people who share his worldview and policy prescriptions. Is there a term for this malady?
P.S. I’m going on a 9-day cruise with Peter Schiff and Mark Skousen. (There will be others; it’s not like the 3 of us just take a break to plot strategy.) Not sure what the Internet connection will be like on the Love Boat, so you may have to go cold turkey with Free Advice.