Why oh why can't we have a better press corps? And it is not just the WSJ editorial page.
Krugman and Glasner read the WSJ editorial page so we don't have to:
Prattle and Prejudice: Via Mark Thoma, David Glasner marvels at an utterly incoherent op-ed by David Malpass in the WSJ. The fact that the Journal even invites Malpass to write says volumes: this is, after all, the guy who insisted that American savings were plenty high because of all those capital gains on housing.
But what’s really interesting, as Glasner notes, is the incoherence. And this is an issue that goes beyond the woeful Malpass; it pervades the WSJ in general, and is broadly visible in much conservative economic writing, including the academic side.
Think of it this way: there was a time when you could say that the right had a model of how the economy worked. A silly model, yes, since it depended on implausibly large effects of marginal tax rates on incentives. Still, supply-side economics had a point of sorts.
But can you discern any model in what Malpass wrote, or for that matter in almost anything on the WSJ editorial page? I can’t. All I see is a bunch of prejudices, strung together with some vaguely economistic-sounding phrases, something like someone talking gibberish that sort of sounds like Swedish. In the world according to the WSJ, low taxes are good (unless the people involved are low income lucky duckies), regulation bad, low inflation good, low interest rates bad, strong dollar good — and don’t ask why.
The thing is, however, that more or less the same thing, at a subtler level, is going on among famous Republican economists. Read what Robert Barro is saying lately, or Robert Lucas, and try to find any commonality between their explanations of the current slump and what they have been saying about business cycles these past 30 years. I can’t....
[W] e’re not having a debate between opposing models; we’re having a conflict in which one side has a model that has been working, while the other side has prejudices, and makes stuff up to justify those prejudices.