At Mises Canada I have two posts up:
==> The first gives yet another illustration of my claim that Bernanke has been the FDR of central banking. This time, I discuss a HuffPo writer calling on Janet Yellen to “save the planet” (his term).
==> In this post, I endorse Russ Roberts’ complaint about Krugman’s discussion on unemployment insurance.
Let me elaborate here with a different example. Back during the Krugman/Sumner showdown, some of Krugman’s defenders were absolutely puzzled about why so many people were thinking 2013 was a great test of Market Monetarism vs. Keynesianism. Did Krugman’s critics really think it was that obvious, such that anyone who denied it was a good test was therefore an idiot?
No, that is completely beside the point. The reason so many of us flipped out is that Krugman wrote this in January 2014: “Incidentally, these other factors are why I don’t take seriously the claims of market monetarists that the failure of growth to collapse in 2013 somehow showed that fiscal policy doesn’t matter.”
How in the *world* could a person write such a sentence, when that same person back in April 2013 had written:
The central debate over macroeconomic policy is, of course, between Keynesians and Austerians. And at this point the Keynesians have overwhelmingly won the debate everywhere…
There have, however, been a couple of side shows, with what I guess now constitutes mainstream Keynesianism…subjected to non-austerian criticism on both flanks. On the left are the Modern Monetary Theory types…On the right are the market monetarists like Scott Sumner and David Beckworth, who insist that the Fed could solve the slump if it wanted to, and that fiscal policy is irrelevant.
Now, there won’t and can’t be any current-events test of MMT until we get out of the slump, because standard IS-LM and MMT are indistinguishable when you’re in a liquidity trap. But as Mike Konczal points out, we are in effect getting a test of the market monetarist view right now, with the Fed having adopted more expansionary policies even as fiscal policy tightens.
And by the way, THE TITLE of that April 2013 Krugman post was, “Monetarism Falls Short.”
So the issue isn’t, “Was 2013 a good or bad test of Keynesianism vs. Market Monetarism”? The issue isn’t even, “Krugman changed his mind from April to January, how convenient.”
No, the issue is, Krugman is making it sound like only an idiot could possibly think that 2013 was a good test. One would have no idea from his January 2014 post that it was a position he himself endorsed back in April.
And the same thing with the unemployment insurance debate: The issue isn’t whether demand-side effects trump supply-side effects during a liquidity trap. No, the issue is that someone reading Krugman’s commentary on Barro would have no idea that Krugman endorsed Barro’s analytical framework in his (Krugman’s) own textbook.
Last thing: One might be tempted (as DeLong did) to dismiss such observations merely as “Krugman derangement syndrome.” Imagine that, some of us focus on the personal foibles of some guy, rather than the issues. But if that’s the case, what would you call it when DeLong and Krugman focus on the moral failings of the people who live in a Dark Age of Macro? (And of course, what kind of medical condition is it, when they spend more than one post each discussing a wager between some punk in Nashville and David Henderson?)