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From an article in today’s New York Times headlined “In Ireland, a Picture of the High Cost of Austerity“:
[Ireland’s] downturn has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more to keep people working. Lacking stimulus money, the Irish economy shrank 7.1 percent last year and remains in recession.
It’s one thing to have to put up with neo-Keynesian nonsense on the editorial page. But in supposedly hard news stories? If the reporter, Liz Alderman, had written that “Many economists, such as Paul Krugman, believe the Irish downturn has been sharper than if the government had spent more,” without also presenting any opposing view, that would have proven silly enough. But no. The downturn, she writes, instead “has certainly been sharper than if the government had spent more.” How does she know? She doesn’t. She can’t. Does she at least have an impressive body of evidence on her side? Not exactly. Whereas here in the United States the President promised that his vast stimulus package would reduce unemployment to 8%, unemployment remains nearly 10%. Why is it certain that stimulus spending would have worked in Ireland?
What Liz Alderman demonstrates in those two sentences is that she, every editor who looked at her story–really, he whole apparatus of the New York Times–have chosen simply to ignore the last half century of lived experience and intellectual progress. Here and there, it’s true, neo-Keynesians still argue their case. But the unchallenged Keynesian orthodoxy? Milton Friedman, George Stigler, Gary Becker and others overthrew it decades ago. Honestly, there are moments when I don’t see how anyone can read the New York Times with a straight face anymore.