Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Yglesias, trying to do penance for his stupid Buchanan remark, appears to by trying to imitate a stupid version of Buchanan

[UPDATE: As the first commenter points out, my title is a little off (some of you might have thought that even before he pointed this out, of course!). Yglesias posted this before Buchanans death. DeLong linked to it yesterday, though, and given how the internets usually work I just figured it was posted in the last couple days. Oops!]


I'm not saying Buchanan was stupid, or that he would say this. I'm saying if you did not recognize the importance of Buchanan's contributions and you tried to impersonate him you might come up with something like this.

Here's a gem:
The important thing to note about this hatred [of Social Security by "Important People"] is that it's not unjustified. The haters aren't wrong. I loved both of my grandmothers, but they spent a lot of years just sitting around consuming goods and services while producing nothing of economic value. Retired people don't boost The Economy. Trimming their cost of living adjustments does.
Now even if we were to adopt his premise, the marginal propensity to consume of about as close to one as it gets for most seniors has to count for something in a purely national accounting assessment, right?

In fact, although to my knowledge Buchanan never offered anything this bad, it shares some traits with claims where Buchanan missed the mark: it has a very convenient and very oversimplified view of those-politicians-that-we-don't-like. You know - those ones. People who lost the old time fiscal religion because of that temptress Keynes (in the case of Buchanan), and the guys enthralled to the Job Creaters, according to Yglesias.

To me, the diagnosis seems to miss the mark. I don't think this really describes the privatizers or the tough-guy Bowles-Simpson types.


  1. 'cept this post was made before Buchanan's death.

    1. Ha! DeLong linked to it just yesterday. Good catch!

  2. High consumption grannies are job creators! :)


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