John Cassidy asks Eugene Fama what he thinks of Paul Krugman's and Larry Summers's arguments that government intervention in finance at the end of 2008 prevented a very deep depression indeed. And Fama says that he does not think about them at all:
Interview with Eugene Fama: Rational Irrationality : The New Yorker:
Cassidy: So you don’t accept the view... [of] Paul Krugman, Larry Summers, and others... that the government prevented a catastrophe?
Fama: Krugman wants to be the czar of the world. There are no economists that he likes. (Laughs)
Cassidy: And Larry Summers?
Fama: What other position could he take and still have a job? And he likes the job...
This I-don't-have-to-deal-with-their-arguments-because-they-are-corrupt-and-do-not-believe-what-they-are-saying is remarkably common among University of Chicago economists.
We also see it in Richard Posner's claim that Larry Summers and Paul Krugman and Christina Romer are corrupt--are saying things they do not believe:
Richard A. Posner's Ethical Lapses: this raises the question of the ethical responsibility of academic economists... Romer (and Krugman, and Lawrence Summers, and many others)... either to adhere to academic standards... or to make clear to the public that they are on holiday from those standards... [in] what they say in their public-intellectual or governmental careers...:
We see it in Robert Lucas's claim that Christina Romer is corrupt--is saying things that she does not believe:
Krugman, Fox, McCain, Prescott, and Company: Lucas: The Moody's model that Christina Romer -- here's what I think happened. It's her first day on the job and somebody says, you've got to come up with a solution to this -- in defense of this fiscal stimulus, which no one told her what it was going to be, and have it by Monday morning. So she scrambled and came up with these multipliers and now they're kind of -- I don't know. So I don't think anyone really believes. These models have never been discussed or debated in a way that that say -- Ellen McGrattan was talking about the way economists use models this morning. These are kind of schlock economics. Maybe there is some multiplier out there that we could measure well but that's not what that paper does. I think it's a very naked rationalization for policies that were already, you know, decided on for other reasons...
Fama or Lucas or Posner could never have said any of those things if they had bothered to spend fifteen minutes talking to any one of Romer or Krugman or Summers about the issues. They would have learned that Krugman and Romer and Summers say what they believe and believe what they say.
Stupidest men alive...