On signing the list of economists for Romney's economic plan:
"I interpreted signing as restricted to economic policy issues. The
statement itself speaks only to economic issues. However, at the time, I
didn't realize the degree to which people would interpret this as an
endorsement of Romney overall. (Yes, the headline is "Economists for
Romney" but somehow I thought it was clear that it was only economics.) I
do not endorse his views on foreign policy, civil liberties and social
policy. Endorsement of his economic policy proposals is to be viewed
only in comparison to Obama's policies (and also his lack of proposals to
restrain spending). This does not represent my deepest ideals or a
comprehensive economic philosophy. I believe it is akin to choosing the
less scratchy toilet paper. I am distressed that some people would
interpret my action as selling out to the GOP establishment or such. I
am not looking for a job with a Romney administration. (They would never
offer, anyway. I can't keep my mouth shut.)"
I like that - "the less scratchy toilet paper". This is basically the way I see Obama's economic policy - not great but better than the Republican and Libertarian alternatives. It's true, though, that I probably warm more to Obama's other policies than Rizzo does to Romney.
This was a response to my surrpise that Rizzo - as a libertarian - would be on the list. So the ultimate justification from Rizzo is not unanticipated and I think makes a lot of sense. I've never been a fan of protest votes. I think it makes much more sense to shape the system itself the best we can. That's the system we'll be living under, after all.
I am also glad to see Rizzo express distress at suggestions that policy positions will be taken by profesional economists in pursuit of political power (certainly it happens, but the suggestion that this is notable or applicable distresses Rizzo). I hope this means that when it is suggested in the comment thread or elsewhere that Keynesianism is popular for this reason, Rizzo will be on my side of that argument
UPDATE: Brad DeLong ain't happy with Mario Rizzo, linking my post here. I'd share Brad's displeasure that any economist anywhere would endorse the relatively vague and unsatisfactory Romney plan - especially relative to the also imperfect Obama alternative - but I want to stress that I reposted Mario's quote here because I at least like his reasoning. I'm not a fan of his ultimate choice, but I am a fan of his more pragmatic willingness to engage the political reality that we actually have, rather than endorsing some third party candidate without a chance (if a third party candidate ever makes more headway, of course you may have more justification for backing him or her). Plus I just liked the "less scratchy toilet paper" line.