Brad DeLong cites Mark Thoma citing Dean Baker beating on the Washington Post for an editorial "We Dare Not Let This Happen [but don't support doing anything about it]."
UPDATE: Paul Krugman joins the chorus. See also an open letter to Professor Krugman.
Huh? Dog bites man is news?
Over here in Sandwichland, we have an old saying, "If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. But if it sheds crocodile tears while eating the unemployed, it's a fucking crocodile." You wanna know how to stop the croc from eating the unemployed? Kill the beast.
Dean says, "the buffoons running economic policy who could not see the largest asset bubble in the history of the world are still there running economic policy."
Mark says, "I think the potential benefits of trying to do something exceed the costs by a safe margin."
Brad says, "Once again the Washington Post making absolutely no sense at all."
The "buffoons" running economic policy are not buffoons. Or, they are not merely buffoons. They are stewards of a system that requires unemployment to keep the buffoons on top on top. Whether the potential benefits of doing something exceed the costs is irrelevant. Benefits to WHOM? Costs to WHOM? Cui bono. The Washington Post editorial makes total sense from the perspective of the buffoons at the top.
Have Dean, Mark and Brad never read Michal Kalecki's "The Political Aspects of Full Employment"?
Every widening of state activity is looked upon by business with suspicion, but the creation of employment by government spending has a special aspect which makes the opposition particularly intense. Under a laissez-faire system the level of employment depends to a great extent on the so-called state of confidence. If this deteriorates, private investment declines, which results in a fall of output and employment (both directly and through the secondary effect of the fall in incomes upon consumption and investment). This gives the capitalists a powerful indirect control over government policy: everything which may shake the state of confidence must be carefully avoided because it would cause an economic crisis. But once the government learns the trick of increasing employment by its own purchases, this powerful controlling device loses its effectiveness. Hence budget deficits necessary to carry out government intervention must be regarded as perilous. The social function of the doctrine of 'sound finance' is to make the level of employment dependent on the state of confidence.Kalecki said that in a lecture delivered in spring of 1942. That's 69 years ago and they didn't even have the Internet. Some news travels fast. And some doesn't.