Thursday, December 23, 2010

Krugman on Maddow, Consumptionism, and Keynesianism

Krugman was on Maddow last night. One of the things that's irked me lately about Krugman is that with all this talk about tax cuts and unemployment benefits he's been thumping the "boost consumption" line, which as I've explained here distracts from the main point. Its not that he doesn't understand the other side of the story - he always explained it very clearly earlier in the crisis. And as I explain in that post on consumption and Keynesianism, he's not even wrong about his points on consumption. He is just, in a sense, going off on a theoretical tangent. I'm not sure why this is. It may just be frustration at Washington being accommodating to the wealthy but not the unemployed - and that's certainly reason to be frustrated.

Brad DeLong, in contrast, has not gone off message when it comes to fundamental Keynes-Hicks insights into liquidity preference and investment as the primary story of what's going on. Unfortunately, DeLong is spending more of his times writing "so and so is stupid" ledes and less of his time writing "Matlhus, Say, Bastiat, Bagehot, Keynes, Fisher, Minsky, Hicks, and Friedman all agree" posts. Strategically and stylistically (to say nothing of etiquette), I prefer the latter.

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