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2008年诺贝尔经济学奖得主。 美國經濟學家及紐約時報的專欄作家,普林斯頓大學經濟系教授,是新凱恩斯主義经济学派代表。1953年出生美國紐約,约翰·F·肯尼迪高中毕业。1974年就讀耶鲁大學,1977年在麻省理工學院取得博士學位,受到经济学家诺德豪斯的注意。畢業後先後於耶鲁大学、麻省理工及史丹福大學任教。2000年起,成為普林斯頓大學經濟系教授。

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hanging tough with keynes(待译)  

2009-06-19 08:39:45|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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                                            June 18, 2009, 4:18 pm

                  Hanging tough with Keynes

There’s an interesting counterpoint between Christina Romer’s new piece in the Economist on the lessons of 1937 and the poll results, which are alarming some commentators, showing that a majority of Americans give deficit reduction a higher priority than rescuing the economy.

First of all, Ms. Romer’s point — that a premature return to orthodoxy can be deadly in this kind of crisis — is one I might have made myself. In fact, I just did.

I also liked her admission that

As someone who has written somewhat critically of the short-sightedness of policymakers in the late 1930s, I feel new humility. I can see that the pressures they were under were probably enormous.

My version of that admission is the statement that we owe the Japanese an apology: their stop-go policies in the 90s, the reluctance to reform banking, are a lot easier to understand now.

What I wonder is: if you had polled Americans in 1936-37 about economic policy, what would they have said? I’m pretty sure they would have been very against deficits — yet FDR’s attempt to reduce the deficit was both economically and politically disastrous.

The point here, I think, is that most people don’t know much about macroeconomics. Hey, most members of Congress don’t know much about macroeconomics — and recent discussions suggest the possibility that many macroeconomists don’t know much about macroeconomics. Voters do, however, notice results.

So the moral for Obama is, of course, to ignore this poll, for the sake both of the economy and of Congressional Democrats — Blue Dogs included.

Update: Aha! From the Roper Center (subscription req.):

Gallup Poll [December, 1935]

Do you think it necessary at this time to balance the budget and start reducing the national debt?

70% Yes
30 No

Gallup Poll [May, 1936]

Are the acts of the present Administration helping or hindering recovery?

55% Helping
45 Hindering

Gallup Poll (AIPO) [November, 1936]

DO YOU THINK IT NECESSARY FOR THE NEW ADMINISTRATION TO BALANCE THE BUDGET?

65% YES
28 NO
7 NO ANSWER

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