Paul Krugman: More Straw


 

The Reinhart-Rogoff rehabilitation tour has been really depressing. There are a number of routes they could have gone; unfortunately, they seem addicted to the notion that they can end the discussion by arguing with straw men. I noted one example in their Times piece, in which they tried to rebut the reverse-causation argument by associating it with a claim — that it’s all about the business cycle — that, as far as I know, nobody has made.

Now they have another piece, this time in the FT, and as Jonathan Portes points out, it attacks two more straw men.

First, it goes after “ultra-Keynesians” who believe that interest rates will never rise; as Portes says, he can’t think who fits that description.

Then, as a supposed argument against … somebody … they point out that Keynes was worried about how to pay for World War II. Um, who exactly doesn’t think that budget deficits are an issue in a more-than-full-employment economy fighting total war?

If the defense of their past work rests on pretending that it’s all an argument with some imaginary economist who believes that we will be in a liquidity trap for ever and ever, and in addition tells stories about debt and growth that bear no resemblance to any of the arguments I’ve heard — well, then they have no defense at all.

More Straw – NYTimes.com

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