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David Stockman NYT piece rankles liberal pundits

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(Read caption) Pedestrians pass the New York Times building in New York. A New York Times op-ed piece by David Stockman has really upset leading liberal pundits, Karlsson writes.

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Well, it seems that David Stockman has really upset leading liberal pundits through the article he got published in the NYT.
Paul Krugman's first response contained basically no factual content and instead just asserted that Stockman is "a cranky old man" (being as much as 6 years older than Krugman himself....) who won't accept reality and rants incoherently. His second response was more factual, but simply focused on a few numbers presented by Stockman that was of almost no relevance for his case.

Jared Bernstein's response was somewhat better than Krugman's reponses, but still failing. Bernstein for example criticize Stockman for supposedly failing to differentiate between years governed by Republican and Democratic Presidents, not noting that Stockman is explicitly critical to Republican Presidents too, especially Bush Jr. but also the others including the one he worked for (Reagan).

Bernstein's least bad theoretical argument against Stockman was that "Sovereign debt is neither bad nor good–its assessment must be situational. " and that if politicians assess the situation better than private investors then government debt to finance investments can be good. Indeed, but that's of course a very big "if", and requires evidence that government politicians and bureaucrats are smarter than private entrepreneurs, and Bernstein doesn't present any evidence for it and simply asserts it. 

It is true that Stockman often in the article simply asserts rather than proves his points, such as his assertion that the auto bailout simply shifted jobs around rather than saved them. That's probably true, but wasn't proven through either theoretical or empirical analysis. But then again, given the fact that the article was already quite long, the NYT probably wouldn't have allowed it.


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