Ezra Klein: Nine Takeaways on Romney’s Tax Plan
And Matthew Yglesias Mocks the Romney Economic Team

Ryan Avent Mocks Greg Mankiw and Mitt Romney

Ryan Avent:

Political economics: Yesterday's heresies: BACK in February of 2009, newly-inaugurated President Barack Obama's Council of Economic Advisers explained the somewhat rosy economic forecasts underlying the adminstration's budget by writing: "[A] key fact is that recessions are followed by rebounds…". Greg Mankiw challenged this argument and had a bit of an argument over the question with Paul Krugman…. Now as it turned out, Mr Mankiw was right to be sceptical; growth has been more sluggish than the administration predicted. The Obama administration has since taken to citing the evidence… which suggests that recoveries after debt crises are often slow.

You can see where this is going.

On Sunday, Mitt Romney mused on the state of the economy:

“That is what happens in a normal process,” he said. “When you come out of the kind of recession we’ve had, you should see this kind of creation. We should be seeing 200-, 300-, 400,000 jobs a month to regain much of what has been lost. That is what normally happens after a recession, but under this president we have not seen that kind of pattern."

The argument behind Mr Romney's point was laid out in a new white paper authored by the campaign's chief economic advisers including… Greg Mankiw…. The Romney white paper offers vague criticisms of the Obama administration's approach to housing. It offers no alternative policy….

You may be unsurprised to learn that there has been a considerable evolution in thinking within the Romney camp on monetary policy. In 2009, Mr Mankiw was calling for higher inflation; he's now linking to pieces arguing that inflation is a worrying risk. In 2010, he called QE2 a "step in the right direction". A year later, he was quoting Chicago economist John Cochrane, writing that QE was a distraction from the need to deal with the "microeconomic, tax, and regulatory barriers to growth". Fittingly, Mr Romney came out in opposition to new QE in his Sunday comments.

If he's elected, I suspect his view on the merits of new monetary expansion will change again, and rapidly. When it comes to economics and politics, people are often capable of "a staggering level of open-mindedness".

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