Monday, July 1, 2019

Housing: Elizabeth Warren v. John Cochrane

Noah Smith has a lot of praise for the economic policy proposals from Elizabeth Warren. I’ll mention only one:
With costs for shelter eating a bigger piece of Americans' paychecks, and local government paralyzed by incumbent homeowners, the country needs a big solution. Warren's would combine incentives for raising zoning density with increased public construction”.
This is interesting in light of John Cochrane’s rant attacking the Democrats on the housing issue. Read it for yourself. Cochrane only noted the increased public construction aspect and tried to tell his readers that only Cory Booker wanted to reform zoning issue. While Cochrane admitted increased housing supply would be a good idea – he slandered any government efforts to do so. No wonder he’s the “grumpy economist”! Update: Cochrane’s latest rant includes this whopper:
Well, I think Keynes will go the way of phlogiston, but I agree with the point, and anyway a good 19th century scientist should know what phlogiston is.
This slur is not exactly novel. Proponents of the New Classical school were calling Keynesian economic blood leaching some 40 years ago. Now someone should ask Cochrane - how well did his New Classical view of the world fare during the Great Recession?

1 comment:

Calgacus said...

And he doesn't know his chemistry very well, either. Phlogiston exists - it is nothing but valence electrons. See (Boston Studies in the Philosophy of Science 293) Hasok Chang- Is Water H2O_ Evidence, Realism & Pluralism- Springer (2012). for discussion about how phlogiston has successfully been used in basic chemistry education. The author is the brother of the economist Ha-Joon Chang.

As Dow Chemical used to inform us, without chemistry, life would be impossible. And without phlogiston, chemistry would be impossible. So without phlogiston life would be impossible. So is Cochrane really saying that without Keynes, economics would be impossible? :-)