Me The People: David Brooks Edition

by Henry Farrell on June 11, 2010 · 2 comments

in Me The People

“Original here”:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/11/opinion/11brooks.html?ref=global

bq. In times like these, deficit spending to pump up the economy doesn’t make me feel more confident; it makes me feel more insecure because I see a political system out of control. Deficit spending wouldn’t induce me to hire and expand if I were magically transformed into a small businessman. It would scare me because I conclude the growth isn’t real and they know big tax increases are on the horizon. It wouldn’t make me feel better if I were miraculously elected as a political leader. Lacking faith that I can wisely cut the debt in some magically virtuous future, I would see my nation careening to fiscal ruin.

Is it so hard to go to public opinion poll data to try to figure out what people think, or to acknowledge that you don’t _know_ what they think when, like, your only source of information is what _you_ think about the topic? No – it isn’t so hard. This is a particularly annoying pundit trick.

{ 2 comments }

Jonathan Bernstein June 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm

Excellent. I was going to write something about this later, but no need now: Henry nailed it. And in considerably fewer words than I would have used, too.

Thomas June 11, 2010 at 10:16 pm

I think that there’s often something to these critiques, but not this one.

Brooks gives us an economic model, cites the economic literature as the source for that model, and then tries to translate that to the contemporary situation. It’s standard popularization, not a me-the-people moment.

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