Recall my concern a couple days ago that there are so many people who seem to accept the seen/unseen counter-factual argument just fine but will only give vague criticisms of actual empirical practice to deal with the problem (this is especially notable when you cite some empirical evidence but raise hackles about other empirical evidence).
I want to make two quick points about Bob's response:
1. If you're just talking about thinking carefully about something, that's fine - but that's philosophy, not science. There's no need for Bob to mock people for thinking that empiricism might have something to do with science. There's nothing childish about that idea at all. The step-by-step formula of the scientific method you learned as a kid is a little childish and ignores the iterative nature and the feedback inherent in real scientific work, sure. But if you're talking about taking empiricism out of the equation, you're talking about social philosophy. Just say that and stop the name calling.
2. Bob is quite sloppy here about assuming that (1.) politicians are on board with economists and (2.) that economists even think policy can work miracles in the first place. When we have a financial crisis, I think the best anyone hopes is that the Fed can ameliorate it anyway - not make everything perfect. As far as I know, at least. But even if you do think policymakers are miracle workers, only an an-cap could think that policymakers now are actually listening to economists.
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