John Cochrane, a professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, says that among academics over the last 30 years, the idea of fiscal stimulus has been discredited and in graduate courses, it is "taught only for its fallacies." New York University economist Thomas Sargent agrees: "The calculations that I have seen supporting the stimulus package are back-of-the-envelope ones that ignore what we have learned in the last 60 years of macroeconomic research."
Beyond dropping a couple of well known names, what does this passage substantively tell us? Cochrane says the Keynesian multiplier has fallacies but fails to identify a single one. Sargent may be right that we have learned a lot in the last sixty years but exactly what lessons apply to this policy debate. This piece does not say. In other words, this passage is absolutely worthless as it says nothing of substance at all.
Then again, when Greg tried to tout the Fama theory by accounting identity approach – he took a rather harsh drubbing. Better to offer meaningless nothings than what appears to be a substantive argument until actually thinks about it. Maybe there are legitimate arguments against this fiscal stimulus – but for all his efforts, Greg Mankiw isn’t exactly producing convincing ones!