February 03, 2004

Leaving a Sinking Ship

Last year the Bush administration rounded up all the tame economists it could find and had them sign a letter about how great the Bush administration's budget proposals were:

Letter Text: We enthusiastically endorse your economic growth and jobs proposal. It is fiscally responsible and it will create more employment, economic growth, and opportunities for all Americans. Moreover, it will improve corporate accountability and strengthen the nation's international competitiveness.

At the time, I remarked on how feeble and thin the signature list was--only 4 of 17 living Republican ex-CEA members signed. (Greg Mankiw I understand: he was about to take a job. But I was disappointed to see Marty Feldstein and Michael Boskin sign.)

Now a year has passed. And we have another set of Bush administration budget proposals. Does anybody support them? I was amused to see even Kevin Hassett--who I thought would be the very last to leave the sinking ship--denounce this Bush budget: "How does [Bush] change from where he is to a more sustainable policy?" he wondered.

But if there is anyone--anyone at all--from the list of names below who enthusiastically supports the Bush budget as a fiscally-responsible program that will create more employment, economic growth, and opportunities for all Americans, improve corporate accountability, and strengthen the nation's international competitiveness, please drop me a line so I can add you to this year's list. I'd like to know who is still on the sinking ship.

Last Year's Signature List:

Douglas K. Adie, Ohio University
Richard Agnello, University of Delaware
William Albrecht, University of Iowa
Donald Alexender, Western Michigan University
William R. Allen, UCLA
Annelise Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Martin Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Jim Araji, University of Idaho
Paul Ballantyne, University of Colorado in Colorado Springs
Stacie E. Beck, University of Delaware
Donald Bellante, University of South Florida
Bruce Bender, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
James T. Bennett, George Mason University
M. Douglas Berg, Sam Houston State University
Robert Blake, Forecasters Club of New York
Cecil E. Bohanon, Ball State University
Don Booth, Chapman University
George H. Borts, Brown University
Michael J. Boskin, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Leonard Bower, consultant
Michael Brandl, University of Texas at Austin
Emile J. Brinkmann, Mortgage Bankers Association of America
Horace W. Brock, Strategic Economic Decisions, Inc.
Wayne T. Brough, Citizens for a Sound Economy
Jackson Brown, American Dental Association
Jeffrey Brown, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Phillip J. Bryson, Marriott School, BYU
Todd Buchholz, Enso Capital Management
James B. Burnham, Duquesne University
Michelle Burtis, LECG LLC
James L. Butkiewicz, University of Delaware
Samantha Carrington, California State University at Los Angeles
Kenneth W. Chilton, Lindenwood University
Ernest S. Christian, Center For Strategic Tax Reform
Lawrence R. Cima, John Carroll University
J.R. Clark, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Darin G. Clay, University of Southern California
Daniel M. Clifton, American Shareholders Association
Howard Cochran, Belmont University
John P. Cochran, Metropolitan State College of Denver
John Cogan, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Boyd Collier, Tarleton State University
Phil Colling, Mortgage Bankers Association of America
Roy Cordato, John Locke Foundation
Ted Covey, Prosperity Caucus
Eleanor D. Craig, University of Delaware
Mark Crain, George Mason University
Thomas D. Crocker, University of Wyoming
Coldwell Daniel III, University of Memphis
Lawrence S. Davidson, Indiana University
Ronnie H. Davis, Printing Industries of America
Ed Day, University of Central Florida
Stephen J. Dempsey, University of Vermont
Christopher DeMuth, American Enterprise Institute
John L. Dobra, University of Nevada
Michael Dowd, University of Toledo
Thomas J. Duesterberg, Manufacturers Alliance
Douglas G. Duncan, Mortgage Bankers Association of America
John B. Egger, Towson University
Isaac Ehrlich, SUNY at Buffalo
Michael A. Ellis, Kent State University
Kenneth G. Elzinga, University of Virginia
Michael R. Englund, MMS International
Stephen J. Entin, Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
Ed Erickson, North Carolina State University
Richard E. Ericson, Columbia University
Paul Evans, Ohio State University
Frank Falero, California State University
Allen M. Featherstone, Kansas State University
Martin Feldstein, Harvard University
John Foltz, University of Idaho
Kristin J. Forbes, MIT
William F. Ford, Middle Tennessee State University
Kenneth C. Froewiss, NYU
Robert C. Fry, Washington, West Virginia
David Garthoff, University of Akron
James F. Gatti, University of Vermont
David Gay, University of Arkansas
Richard F. Gleisner, St. Cloud State University
Claudio Gonzalez, Ohio State University
Ernest Goss, Creighton University
Scott F. Grannis, Western Asset Management
John G. Greenhut, Arizona State University West
Earl Grinols, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
Timothy Groseclose, Stanford Graduate School of Business
James Gwartney, Florida State University
David L. Hammes, University of Hawaii at Hilo
J. Daniel Hammond, Wake Forest University
Stephen Happel, Arizona State University
Kevin Hassett, American Enterprise Institute
Joel W. Hay, University of Southern California
Will C. Heath, Heath Economics
Dale M. Heien, University of California at Davis
Pat Hendershott, Ohio State University
James W. Henderson, Baylor University
Melvin J. Hinich, University of Texas
Mark Hirschey, University of Kansas
Harold M. Hochman, Lafayette College
Robert J. Hodrick, Columbia University
Lawrence A. Hunter, Empower America
Thomas R. Ireland, University of Missouri at St. Louis
John D. Jackson, Auburn University
Lowell Jacobsen, Baker University
Sherry Jarrell, Wake Forest University
Michael C. Jensen, Harvard Business School
Clifton T. Jones, Stephen F. Austin State University
Richard E. Just, University of Maryland
Steven N. Kaplan, University of Chicago
Ed Kaplan, Western Washington University
Raymond J. Keating, Small Business Survival Committee
Kristen Keith, University of Toledo
B.F. Kiker, University of South Carolina
E. Han Kim, University of Michigan
Paul Koch, Olivet Nazarene University
Meir Kohn, Dartmouth College
Melvyn Krauss, Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Peter Kretzmer, Bank of America
Robert Krol, California State University at Northridge
Larry Kudlow, Kudlow & Co.
Richard La Near, Missouri Southern State College
Arthur Laffer, Laffer Associates
William E. Laird, Jr., Florida State University
Russell Lamb, North Carolina State University
Don Leet, California State University at Fresno
John D. Leeth, Bentley College
Ken Lehn, University of Pittsburgh
Cotton M. Lindsay, Clemson University
Larry Lindsey, The Lindsey Group
Dennis E. Logue, University of Oklahoma
Lawrence W. Lovik, Troy State University
Harold I. Lunde, Bowling Green State University
Donald L. Luskin, Trend Macrolytics, LLC
Burton Malkiel, Princeton University
David Malpass, Bear Stearns & Co. Inc.
N. Gregory Mankiw, Harvard University
Richard Manning, Pfizer, Inc.
Dick Marcus, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
Michael L. Marlow, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
Merrill Matthews, Jr., Council for Affordable Health Insurance
Thomas H. Mayor, University of Houston
Tom Means, San Jose State University
Allan H. Meltzer, Carnegie Mellon University
Michael Melvin, Arizona State University
Stephen Mennemeyer, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Lloyd Mercer, University of California at Santa Barbara
John Merrifield, University of Texas at San Antonio
Jim Miller, Director, Office of Management and Budget, 1985-88
Jim Mintert, Kansas State University
Velma Montoya, National Council of Hispanic Women
Steve Moore, Club for Growth
John Moorhouse, Wake Forest University
John Murray, University of Toledo
Harry Nagel, St. John's University
Anthony Negbenebor, Gardner-Webb University
George R. Neumann, University of Iowa
Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform
Seth W. Norton, Wheaton College
William Oakland, Tulane University
Lee E. Ohanian, UCLA
Richard W. Oliver, American Graduate School of Management
June O'Neill, Baruch College, City University of New York
Lydia Ortega, San Jose State University
Karen Palasek, John Locke Foundation
Randall E. Parker, East Carolina University
James Parrino, Babson College
E.C. Pasour, Jr., North Carolina State University
Mark Perry, University of Michigan at Flint
Tomas Philipson, University of Chicago
Barry Poulson, University of Colorado
Edward C. Prescott, University of Minnesota
Jan S. Prybyla, Pennsylvania State University
Gary Quinlivan, Saint Vincent College
Richard W. Rahn, Discovery Institute
John Rapp, University of Dayton
Eric Rasmusen, Indiana University
Martin A. Regalia, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Carmen M. Reinhart, International Monetary Fund
Christine P. Ries, Georgia Institute of Technology
Aldona Robbins, Fiscal Associates
Gary Robbins, Fiscal Associates
Paul Craig Roberts, Institute for Political Economy
Charles K. Rowley, George Mason University
Paul H. Rubin, Emory University
Roy J. Ruffin, University of Houston
Mark Rush, University of Florida
John Ryding, Bear Stearns & Co. Inc.
Andrew Sacher, Caxton Associates
Gary J. Santoni, Ball State University
Thomas R. Saving, Texas A&M University
Kurt Schuler, Office of the Vice Chairman, Joint Economic Committee, US Congress
Michael Schuyler, Institute for Research on the Economics of Taxation
Robert Scott, California State University, Chico
Gerald W. Scully, University of Texas at Dallas
Richard T. Selden, University of Virginia
Barry J. Seldon, University of Texas at Dallas
John Semmens, Laissez Faire Institute
Richard J. Sexton, University of California at Davis
Sol Shalit, University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee
Alan C. Shapiro, University of Southern California
Gary L. Shoesmith, Wake Forest University
William F. Shughart II, University of Mississippi
Charles David Skipton, Florida State University
Amy Smith, formerly with the Office of Management and Budget
James F. Smith, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Rodney T. Smith, Stratecon, Inc.
Vernon L. Smith, George Mason University (Nobel Laureate)
Neil H. Snyder, University of Virginia
John C. Soper, John Carroll University
Frank Spreng, McKendree College
Beryl W. Sprinkel, B.W. Sprinkel Economics
Stan Spurlock, Mississippi State University
William G. Stanford, University of Illinois at Chicago
Ben Stein, actor, writer, economist
Carl H. Stem, Texas Tech University
Craig A. Stepenson, Babson College
E. Frank Stephenson, Berry College
Courtenay C. Stone, Ball State University
Robert Tamura, Clemson University
Fred Telling, Pfizer, Inc.
Rebecca Thacker, Ohio University
Clifford Thies, Shenandoah University
Leo Troy, Rutgers University
Kamal Upadhyaya, University of New Haven
Richard Vedder, Ohio University
Tony Villamil, The Washington Economics Group
Richard E. Wagner, George Mason University
William B. Walstad, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
Stephen J.K. Walters, Loyola College in Maryland
Harold Warren, East Tennessee State University
Marc Weidenmier, Claremont McKenna College
John T. Wenders, University of Idaho
Brian S. Wesbury, Griffin, Kubik, Stephens & Thompson
Walter Wessels, North Carolina State University
Robert Whaples, Wake Forest University
John Whitley, University of Adelaide
John H. Wicks, University of Montana at Missoula
Gary W. Williams, Texas A&M University
Michael E. Williams, University of Denver
Douglas Wills, University of Washington at Tacoma
Michael K. Wohlgenant, North Carolina State University
Charles Wolf, Jr., Hoover Institution, Stanford University
Gary Wolfram, Hillsdale College
Gene C. Wunder, Washburn University
Richard Yamarone, Argus Research Corp.
Andrew Yuengert, Pepperdine University
Paul J. Zak, Claremont Graduate University
M.Y. Zaki, Northern Michigan University
Asghar Zardkoohi, Texas A&M University
Kate Zhou, University of Hawaii
Benjamin Zycher, Pacific Research Institute

Posted by DeLong at February 3, 2004 09:39 PM | TrackBack | | Other weblogs commenting on this post

Hey, blacklisting went out with the McCarthy era!

Posted by: p mac on February 3, 2004 10:15 PM


This is great!!!! An academic taunt. Intellectual smack down. Of course, those listed are all cowards and will not respond. If they do, please post like from Weisberg at the Washington Post. Have some undergrad volunteers track down all their email addresses and send them a copy and ask them to respond. Maybe they can show up at your macro seminar and discuss. Has anyone gone back and looked at how Krugman's arguments made in "Fuzzy Math" have stood up in the last three years? I suspect that he is right on. Also, has anyone taken Bush's campaign promises "I have a plan that will reduce taxes and preserve the budget surplus, keep social security and medicare sound . . ." and compared them to the current situation. I saw the other day that Krugman said that Bush's earlier budget projection put this year's deficit at only $14 billion. Now he's giving us a budget $521 billion in the red. Quite a turn around. More of this type of comparison contrast is needed.

Posted by: Cal on February 3, 2004 10:26 PM


Hey! I recognised the last name on the list! Ben Zycher, who wrote the lamest defence of John Lott ever:

I emailed him a couple of times after that, suggesting that he at least correct his statements that were indisputably wrong, but he did not.

Posted by: Tim Lambert on February 4, 2004 12:56 AM


"blacklisting went out with the McCarthy era!"

Huh? I thought those guys were consenting adults and knew what they were doing when they publicly signed a statement in favor of Bush fiscal policy?

I think there must be some difference to bad old Joe: One thing is making paranoic lists of alleged "communists", a nother thing is reminding people of what they have signed and asking them if they still want to take on the "intellectual" responsibility for the ongoing clown show.

Posted by: gerhard on February 4, 2004 02:45 AM


I can't believe this! I mean that's triple chuckle stuff -- on the bitter side... like "you don't know whether you should cry or laugh out loud"... it doesn't get this low even in Turkey:

"We ENTHUSIASTICALLY endorse YOUR economic growth and jobs proposal...."

Turkish students (even today) would permanently boo down with rotten tomatos and eggs any professor who signed any thing like it for a Turkish prime minister -- and it would not matter if the proposal was indeed super.

(Except the few who double as hacks in the media, though. They do get away with it. I guess it is like that there is no point in being angry at a certified prostitute -- she is not cheating any body.)

Posted by: bulent on February 4, 2004 03:38 AM


Special interest reps would stay through the elections at least, and that would be rational from their point of view. I feel sorry for the academics, however.

Posted by: bulent on February 4, 2004 03:56 AM


Uhm, "rotten tomatos and eggs" was a figure of speech, meaning lots of commotion.

Posted by: bulent on February 4, 2004 03:59 AM


I think it's a bit over the top to characterize them as "all cowards". Not that I agree with the document they signed!

Since the list is, at least to the eyes of this non-economist, rather longer than I expected, some context would be helpful. I suspect that this is but a small fraction of the current roster of working economists, but I have no count of that roster to guide me. How many are there, roughly?

Posted by: stein on February 4, 2004 04:43 AM


Ben Stein?

Do people actually take him seriously as an economist?

All I've ever heard is that he's a comedian, Republican shill and former Nixon speech writer.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on February 4, 2004 05:56 AM


It's not a blacklist, it's a perp walk.

Posted by: Rich Puchalsky on February 4, 2004 06:07 AM


How Shrill!!!

Posted by: JM on February 4, 2004 06:35 AM


"Ben Stein? Do people actually take him seriously as an economist? All I've ever heard is that he's a comedian, Republican shill and former Nixon speech writer."

His father was a very well respected economist and pretty much everyone who's in a position to know agrees that Ben Stein is off-the-charts smart and probably qualified to speak on just about any public policy issue. That said, he should be embarrassed for signing on to this letter; I'd be curious to know what he thinks about it now.

Posted by: alkali on February 4, 2004 06:35 AM


Grover Norquist is the puppet master with his hand in de-facto POTUS Cheney's back. I didn't know he had certifiable economic credentials.

Posted by: G Ward on February 4, 2004 06:58 AM


LOL you're a DICK, DeLong, which is also why you're so damn funny :-)
Your website has kept me entertained all throughout my late-night, stressed out grad school application process. Keep it up.

Posted by: Brad Reed on February 4, 2004 07:05 AM



Here's how the National Review and Republican Party are spinning all this in the Heartland.

Now get back to work.

Posted by: Korn Huysker on February 4, 2004 07:10 AM


It was enscribed above by Gerhardt:

"blacklisting went out with the McCarthy era!"

Huh? I thought those guys were consenting adults and knew what they were doing when they publicly signed a statement in favor of Bush fiscal policy?

Gerhardt, I'm afraid your irony detector is out of order.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg on February 4, 2004 07:14 AM


I'm sure Larry [Pollyana] Kudlow remains a true believer.

BTW what's happened to "Kudlow & Cramer"?

Posted by: claude tessier on February 4, 2004 07:20 AM


Count me in!


A. Laffer

Posted by: bobbyp on February 4, 2004 07:20 AM


There is some rich irony here for anyone who bothers to read the ads served by Google in the right column. The third one down says “Build a Stronger America. We’re fighting for President Bush’s economic agenda. See how today. www.RNC.org.” Yes, all of this was brought to you in part by your friends at the RNC. I can’t think of a better way to spend their money.

Posted by: stuart irvin on February 4, 2004 07:34 AM


For a rough look at what percentage of economists this is, Texas A&M has 3 names on the list. One is a professor of Management, one an Agricultural Economist, one is a professor of Economics. The economics department itself has 16 full professors, who probably would suffer little or no retribution if they signed on. Most of them I know to be conservative or libertarian in outlook, several are politically interested, and the department is housed in the academic building attached to the George HW Bush Presidential Library. One signed.

This is anecdotal, but looking at the list, I'm sure something similar holds across the academic world.

Posted by: rvman on February 4, 2004 08:04 AM


Grover Norquist went to Harvard, so, in America, that makes him qualified to speak on any subject. All these people are cowards, if asked to comment on this commentary, choose not to respond. Ben Stein is most famous, perhaps, for defaming Joan Rivers when he said that Joan Rivers' husband committed suicide to get away from her. Stein had to pay a big settlement to get out of that one.

Posted by: Cal on February 4, 2004 08:13 AM


Dr. DeLong:

As a regular National Review/NRO reader and a former graduate economics student, I am a little confused about Donald Luskin being on the list. Is he really an economist? I always just asssumed he was an opinion-writer-type with no particular economic credentials.


Posted by: Adam W. Foley on February 4, 2004 08:26 AM


Meanwhile -- if you look at real GDP growth on a
2003 vs 2002 basis - rather than 4th q to 4th q --
growth was 3.1% the long term average since 1975.

They are going to try and call this a boom just like for Reagan when his average economic performance is always described at a boom.

Also note that in the survey of nonmanufacturing by the purchasing managers the employment component actually fell in January -- implying that the Jan employment data could be weak.

Posted by: SPENCER on February 4, 2004 08:42 AM


Bulent, I had that same sort of feeling.

There is something sortof of un-professional (especially from economists who are famous for their "on the other hand" tendencies) about signing such a statement, and especially one that sounds like it was written by a particularly perky high-school cheerleader.

Posted by: a different chris on February 4, 2004 08:44 AM


Also in the December income data just reported the wage & salary component actually fell.

Real per capita DPI fell in the 4th Q.
The risk that the economy could weaken over the rest of the year is much bigger than generally recognized.

Posted by: spencer on February 4, 2004 08:47 AM


Prof DeLong,
Please get a grad student slave to put this on a spead sheet with alphabetization and affiliation(SP?). Fun to send this list around to the media and other parties. Also keep it up to date with buyins and retractions.
Keep up the good work. These guys need to be the laughing stock of the economics profession and business comunity.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert on February 4, 2004 09:11 AM


"I am a little confused about Donald Luskin being on the list. Is he really an economist?"

No, he's not even a college graduate. The list was not limited to economists.

Posted by: Chuck Nolan on February 4, 2004 09:40 AM


Dale Heien, at UC Davis, is an agricultural economist, specializing in ag marketing. His research statement: "My research centers on how markets function especially with regard to price determination and regulation. This leads to problems of consumer demand, investment, contract usage, tariff and nontariff trade barriers and the impact of government regulations and restrictions." (http://www.agecon.ucdavis.edu/facultypages/heien/heienre.htm)

Richard Sexton is in the same department, also ag marketing, with an interet in industrial organization. "My research focuses primarily on the analysis of agricultural markets, with special emphasis on the fruit, vegetable and nut industries in California. A particular focus is the role that imperfect competition plays in agricultural markets. Although these markets are sometimes offered as textbook examples of competitive markets, the reality is quite different..." (it goes on.) http://www.agecon.ucdavis.edu/facultypages/sexton/sextonre.htm

Michael Wohlgenant is another ag econ guy, also marketing, specifically econometrics of demand systems.

These are all three very smart guys, serious and well-respected professionals in their fields, in very strong departments. As to how their expertise applies to fiscal and budgetary policy, I really can't say. In the case of Professor Wohlgenant, perhaps there is more than "meats" the eye. Professors Sexton and Heien must have been a little "nuts" to sign that letter...

Posted by: Jason Christian on February 4, 2004 09:45 AM


I don't mind the economists (and non-economists pretending) signing this list, as long as they are held to it. They participated in a public propaganda event, in the area of their expertise; if they are embarrassed, that's a good thing.

Posted by: Barry on February 4, 2004 09:50 AM


What kind of letter would Prof. Delong be willing to sign.

Would Krugman be willing to sign it?

Who would do the work to organize it?

Would the Krugman/Delong list be more impressive than the White House list? Could they get as many signatories?

Posted by: OneGuy on February 4, 2004 09:55 AM


More signatories and more Nobels.

Posted by: Matthew Saroff on February 4, 2004 10:32 AM


Really, when the list was released it was amazing how thin it was. Aside from those DeLong mentioned, Metzler, and Prescott stand out but it is really thin.

Posted by: Rob on February 4, 2004 10:38 AM


"Bulent, I had that same sort of feeling."

I'm sure you did, along with many many others. That's only natural. Student and youth reflexes, though, are not what they used to be in 60s and 70s. Those reflexes were mercilessly crushed -- ever heard of Penn State, for example? And then came the Yuppie wave. And now... I guess it is a completely different story... a young person at college today considers himself or herself to be lucky and is still scared stiff of after college period... youth of 60s and 70s took things for granted and perhaps had a somewhat poorly balanced set of priorities but today the pendulum has swung too far to the other side... what it is today is not a good way to be young... and that's not healthy for the nation as a whole...

Posted by: bulent on February 4, 2004 10:46 AM


"...Really, when the list was released it was amazing how thin it was...."

If that means majority of signatories were people considered to be intellectual feather weights, then that's a good sign.

Posted by: bulent on February 4, 2004 10:49 AM


>>There is something sortof of un-professional (especially from economists who are famous for their "on the other hand" tendencies) about signing such a statement, and especially one that sounds like it was written by a particularly perky high-school cheerleader.<<

There are very similar letters from the "other side" on the perils of big tax cuts, running deficits, etc. For an example, see www.epinet.org/content.cfm/econ_stmt_2003; in fact, our illustrious host signed this one.

I don't mind people signing these letters on either side, if they really believe in the cause. But Brad's right; there should be some accountability there.

Posted by: Dave on February 4, 2004 10:53 AM


Thanks for posting the list, Brad! Now I know where to apply when I go looking to do further post-grad work. :^)

Bernard Guerrero, wants to _be_ on the list

Posted by: Bernard Guerrero on February 4, 2004 11:08 AM


OneGuy wrote:
> Would the Krugman/Delong list be more impressive than the White House list? Could they get as many signatories?

As I recall, White House letter was a hastily executed reaction to the following one in opposition to Bush's tax cuts.

There are not as many signatories to the above, but their credentials are a lot more impressive.

Posted by: Paul Callahan on February 4, 2004 11:38 AM


Bush couldn't even get all of his Council of Economic Advisers to sign it. Mankiw and Forbes signed on, but how did Harvey Rosen get the job?

Posted by: rex on February 4, 2004 11:53 AM


Good work, Dr. DeLong. Just wanted to let you know I posted a blog entry referring to this on my new blog: http://healthofnations.blogspot.com. Thanks!

Posted by: Barbara on February 4, 2004 11:56 AM


Oops, here's the link to my actual blog entry relating to Dr. DeLong's blog:
(I'm new to blogging, sorry)

Posted by: Barbara on February 4, 2004 12:16 PM


I do not keep records on this sort of thing.

But I believe at some point in recent years there was a paid ad tearing the Bush econ-tax program to pieces signed by almost all of the economic
Nobel winners.

Posted by: spencer on February 4, 2004 12:24 PM


Brad DeLong wrote, "But I was disappointed to see Marty Feldstein and Michael Boskin sign."

Why? Have we heard a mea culpa from Feldstein yet on his prediction that the Clinton tax hikes would hurt the economy?

On Boskin, if I recall correctly Dean Baker pointed out the inconsistencies arising from using the Boskin commission's revisions on the historical rate of inflation.

Posted by: liberal on February 4, 2004 12:35 PM


spencer wrote, "But I believe at some point in recent years there was a paid ad tearing the Bush econ-tax program to pieces signed by almost all of the economic Nobel winners."

*VERY* difficult to believe, given the number of right-wing economics Nobelists (Friedman, Buchanan, etc).

Posted by: liberal on February 4, 2004 12:38 PM


Robert Whaples is also another well known economist on that list. In economic history.
(In addition to the above mentioned Prescott,
Meltzer and the UC Davis ag econ guys)

And I think "thin" refers to breadth rather
than depth here. That is, there is a lot of
noticable absences.

Oh yeah, a (possibly made up) anecdote about Ed
Prescott, from a friend who's studying at
Minnesota (though Prescott is now moving to Arizona I think):

Prescott apparantly has a tendency to pace the
halls of the UM econ department muttering things
under his breath. Once my friend was walking right
behind him, though Prescott was oblivious, so
he overheard Ed's mutterings:

"The government ......... those bastards!"

Posted by: radek on February 4, 2004 12:52 PM


> > a paid ad tearing the Bush econ-tax program to pieces signed by almost all of the economic Nobel winners."

> *VERY* difficult to believe, given the number of right-wing economics Nobelists (Friedman, Buchanan, etc).

Maybe difficult to believe, but very easy to find in a Google search.


Here is the "paid ad" version:

At least it says "paid for by..."

And I retract my concession about the number of signatories. If you count the "hundreds... agree" column, it looks like more than the pro-Bush letter.

Posted by: Paul Callahan on February 4, 2004 01:18 PM


Paul Callahan wrote, "> *VERY* difficult to believe, given the number of right-wing economics Nobelists (Friedman, Buchanan, etc).

Maybe difficult to believe, but very easy to find in a Google search."

But the antecedent was "almost all of the economic Nobel winners." The letter you link to has 10. Hardly "almost all". I predict Friedman, Buchanan, Vernon Smith, etc, would sign a letter that is strongly worded against Bush policies when hell freezes over. (Friedman and Buchanan, who were at least tangentially involved with Chile, could muster hardly a breathe against Pinochet.)

Posted by: liberal on February 4, 2004 03:37 PM


Re radek's reference to Prescott: The abstract to "Is the Stock Market Overvalued?" (Ellen R. McGrattan and Edward C. Prescott) begins, "The value of U.S. corporate equity in the first half of 2000 was close to 1.8 times U.S. gross national product (GNP). Some stockmarket analysts have argued that the market is overvalued at this level. We use a growth model with an explicit corporate sector and find that the market is correctly valued." Another brilliant article by the same authors is entitled "The Stock Market Crash of 1929: Irving Fisher Was Right!"

Posted by: liberal on February 4, 2004 03:45 PM


I believe the most interesting item about the "250 Economists Endosre President Bush's Jobs and Growth Plan" was the large drop of vocal support among Economists for Bush policies. During the 2000 presidential Campaign I recall an article "More Than 500 Leading Economists Endorse Governor Bush's Economic Plan". A quick groups.google search with the subject "Nobel Economists Endorse BUSH" links to an older policy endorsement with a much larger number and more notable/distinguished group of economists in favor of Bush's policies.
Milton Friedman, James M. Buchanan, Gary S. Becker, Mryon S. Sholes,Robert E. Lucas, and Robert A. Mundell get top billing in the "500" list, but the six Nobel Laureates are noticably absent from the most recent endorsement.
Donald Luskin isn't on the 500, but then again it did say Leading Economists. Although, I did see Ben Stein's name.

Posted by: J. Velez on February 4, 2004 05:11 PM


"I believe the most interesting item about the "250 Economists Endosre President Bush's Jobs and Growth Plan" was the large drop of vocal support among Economists for Bush policies. During the 2000 presidential Campaign I recall an article "More Than 500 Leading Economists Endorse Governor Bush's Economic Plan". A quick groups.google search with the subject "Nobel Economists Endorse BUSH" links to an older policy endorsement with a much larger number and more notable/distinguished group of economists in favor of Bush's policies.
Milton Friedman, James M. Buchanan, Gary S. Becker, Mryon S. Sholes,Robert E. Lucas, and Robert A. Mundell get top billing in the "500" list, but the six Nobel Laureates are noticably absent from the most recent endorsement.
Donald Luskin isn't on the 500, but then again it did say Leading Economists. Although, I did see Ben Stein's name."

Could be that the 250 or so that didn't sign on after the Presidential election of 2000 saw the economy tanking and, much like Alan Greenspan, saw the need for triggers that kicked in if the economy tanked.

Although runaway spending (from 1.75 trillion to 2.5 trillion if you include Iraq and Afghanistan costs) might be a problem as well (outlays will return to 2000 levels in 2005).

Posted by: Ryan Fraley on February 4, 2004 09:44 PM


As a personal-finance reporter, I have interviewed three of those economists: William Ford, Phil Colling and Doug Duncan. I'm striking Ford off my list of economist sources. I assume that Colling and Duncan were told by their bosses at the Mortgage Bankers Association to sign the letter, but, still ... they're probably secretly embarrassed.

What's the deal with economists from the University of Toledo and Stanford? Did their department chairmen pressure them to sign? Are those departments hotbeds of Bushonomics?

Posted by: Holden Lewis on February 5, 2004 01:21 PM


Intellectual smackdown! Expose the lies of the self-blacklisted pseudo-economists! Prevent the US economy from collapsing! Stop Grover Norquist from drowning the Federal government in a bathtub!

Here's a list of over 700 journalist emails:


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Word-processing and emailing tip:

(1) If you want to email a bunch of people at once, put ALL these addresses into the BCC (blind carbon-copy) field of your email program.

(2) To do this properly, you can't have any carriage returns between any email addresses in the BCC field.

(3) To get rid of the carriage-returns, do the following:

(a) Copy and paste the above addresses into Microsoft Word.

(b) Do a find-and-replace as follows:

FIND : ^p
REPLACE : (nothing)

The symbol ^p stands for a carriage-return in MS-Word find-and-replace. Replacing it with NOTHING will make all the email addresses coalesce into one long line, without any carriage-returns after the commas.

Posted by: ScottXYZ on February 7, 2004 12:40 AM


QUIT LYING DELONG!! Though that is the only thing a Liberal/Democrat is truly good at.

Luskin is ready for you.

Posted by: Mark Gray on February 17, 2004 01:46 PM


"We enthusiastically endorse your economic growth and jobs proposal. It is fiscally responsible and it will create more employment, economic growth, and opportunities for all Americans. Moreover, it will improve corporate accountability and strengthen the nation's international competitiveness."

Delong, you leftist weenie, what part of this don't you understand? Properly and responsibly surveyed, the huge majority of those who signed this letter would sign again.

The simple truth is that most of them have the decency to avoid cultural outhouses like your circle-jerk blog.

Posted by: Jaibones on February 17, 2004 05:15 PM


What a joke.

The real question is "How many discredited economists will admit their mistake?" once the Bush policies have had the bulk of his second term to kick in.

Will you admit you were wrong, Brad?

Posted by: JackSheet on February 17, 2004 08:54 PM


For those of you that attempt objectivity, read Luskin's take:

Posted by: BoulderCons on February 25, 2004 02:58 PM


When prosperity comes, do not use all of it.

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Don't matter if you care, if you don't own what you care about.

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You have a pretty nice blog. English is not my native language but it was please to read your site. From Russia with love :)Sincerely yours..


Posted by: Louise on June 2, 2004 03:02 AM


Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.

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