Learned watching cable news, #5

Week of February 13, 2012

Larry Kudlow believes we should listen to Stanford Economics professor Edward Lazear, whose “Street Creds” were displayed as Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors, 2006 -2009.  Why did Kudlow have a guest whose “Street Creds” say, “You would be a fool to listen to this person!”

It’s a funny thing about economists.  Their predictions are valuable, if they are right.  If they are wrong, their predictions have no value (or worse); and only by looking back can we determine which predictions were right, which were wrong.

Lazear did not mention his advice between 2006 and 2009, so I assume he failed to insist on paying for two wars and a huge drug benefit.  He failed to successfully argue for the need to control the deficit.  And he failed to insist on financial regulations that might have prevented the housing meltdown.

I should listen to Professor Lazear?  Does Kudlow take me for a fool? 

That’s your suggestion? Now give me the opposite.

I am troubled by Ron Suskind’s description of the Obama White House during the economic crisis of 2009:


He paints a not-so-pretty picture of the White House discussion.  We were confronting an economic disaster, and getting elected president does not make one expert in everything Americans care about.  Every president has to rely on the advice of experts.

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