Friday, November 26, 2010

life in an alternative universe

Brad Delong says this:

Thus, I would confidently lecture only three short years ago that the days when governments could stand back and let the business cycle wreak havoc were over in the rich world. No such government today, I said, could or would tolerate any prolonged period in which the unemployment rate was kissing 10% and inflation was quiescent without doing something major about it.

I was wrong. That is precisely what is happening.

People, what has the government done?

Let's see, there's the TARP, the Stimulus bill, the GM bailout, the Fed buying mortgage backed securities, cash for clunkers, the Fed pushing short rates to effectively zero, the credit for homebuyers, the extension and re-extension of unemployment benefits, a big deficit financed increase in discretionary spending (aka last year's budget), and now the Fed has commenced QEII.

Nothing "major"? Really?

It's kind of an interesting syllogism at work here. (1) The government can always control the state of the economy, (2) the economy is still bad, therefore (3) the government has not actually attempted to control the state of the economy.

If only there was a term for this kind of thinking!


Norman said...

I'm pretty sure the term is 'wrong.' I sometimes wonder if Delong would, upon seeing an overcrowded soup kitchen, start yelling that the government should have been dropping manna from the sky.

Tom Rod said...

"Mistaken" is what comes to mind. "Deceiving" is a slightly more cynical take.

Tom said...

"Deluded" certainly. Delong "knows" that government could control the economy precisely. Since it is not controlled, government must've done nothing. "Empirical evidence? BAH!"