Semi-Daily Journal Archive

The Blogspot archive of the weblog of J. Bradford DeLong, Professor of Economics and Chair of the PEIS major at U.C. Berkeley, a Research Associate of the National Bureau of Economic Research, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why Oh Why Can't We Have a Better Press Corps? (Yet Another Washington Post Edition)

A Washington Post that prints dreck like that of George Will won't last a decade. Look at this:

Prosperity Amid the Gloom - washingtonpost.com: Economic hypochondria, a derangement associated with affluence, is a byproduct of the welfare state: An entitlement mentality gives Americans a low pain threshold -- witness their recurring hysteria about nominal rather than real gasoline prices -- and a sense of being entitled to economic dynamism without the frictions and "creative destruction" that must accompany dynamism. Economic hypochondria is also bred by news media that consider the phrase "good news" an oxymoron, even as the U.S. economy, which has performed better than any other major industrial economy since 2001, drives the Dow to record highs...

Does Will know that in trumpeting the "record highs" of the Dow he is making the exact mistake he condemns earlier in the paragraph as "hysteria about nominal rather than real gasoline prices"? No, he does not. Does Fred Hiatt have anybody read George Will's columns for egregious howlers before they are printed? No he does not.

As I have said, a decade.

Kash Mansouri, at his new weblog "The Street Light, has more:

The Street Light: Economic Cheerleading, Economic Misleading: Every single one of the points that Will makes is misleading, disingenuous, beside the point, or all three.

Just where should I begin in explaining how wrong Will is?

Do I start by mentioning that the federal budget deficit, while relatively low this year... is set to go far higher in coming years?

Do I start by noting that he's comparing oil prices today with the very worst of the oil shock in 1980...?

Should I begin by explaining that the point Will raises about individuals constantly shifting their consumption patterns away from more expensive items and toward cheaper things is an obvious phenomenon that economic statistics already account for?

Or should I begin by noting that the tax cuts... had only a tiny impact on average Americans - only on the order of a couple of hundred dollars per taxpayer per year?

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