Thursday, September 22, 2016

How Many Ways Can Niall Ferguson Contradict Himself on Economics?

His latest:
To see why Trump is gaining on Clinton, despite his numerous flaws as a candidate, just compare their economic policy proposals. With Clinton you get more of the same: more spending (approximately $1.5 trillion over the next decade)—a large proportion of it on infrastructure—paid for by higher taxes on richer households, plus more regulation, especially of banks and pharmaceutical companies. Call it Obama+: the trains go round in circles, the government keeps on growing, but the economy as a whole limps along at 2% a year. By comparison, Trump offers acceleration along a new track, albeit at the risk of derailment. This is true even when he is on his best, scripted behavior, as he was on Thursday at the Economic Club of New York. Much of this speech was red meat for the Republican establishment he needs to keep on board: tax simplification and tax cuts, increased spending on defense and border security and deep cuts in environmental and consumer-protection regulation. Ironically, the Keynesian economists who support Clinton are on the wrong side, because even the Trump campaign admits his tax cuts would cost $4.4 trillion over the decade. He, not Clinton, is the true candidate of stimulus, as his budgets would only come close to balancing if growth went up to 3.5 percent a year. And on top of all that are Trump’s earlier pledges to restrict immigration, free trade and offshoring, pledges that are especially appealing to those Americans who feel most pessimistic about the future.
So Clinton’s proposals are going around in circles because they offer fiscal stimulus but Trump’s proposals will accelerate economic growth because they offer fiscal stimulus? In what model do large increases in defense spending lead to more economic growth that increases in infrastructure investment? Or is Niall touting the Laugher Curve nonsense that lower tax rates and deregulation of the financial and other sectors will lead to an economic miracle ala the Cochrane removing the weeds from the garden thesis? Oh wait – Trump is also calling for restrictions on trade and immigration. So is it that some aspects of deregulation promote growth whereas free trade restricts growth? Can we see Niall Ferguson’s economic model that quantifies the economic growth from the Trump proposals?


Bruce Wilder said...

Did the government grow under Obama? I guess I missed that huge surge in infrastructure spending. And, Clinton . . . well that does seem like more of same: a branded program of infrastructure spending that keeps spending at its current depressed level.

Niall Ferguson is a type of fool, I suppose -- one who gives permission for a grab bag of reactionary desiderata. That does not make Clinton's proposals visionary by contrast.

Editor said...

There are two types of speech:

1) Advanced human speech, meant to convey meaning and usually aiming for logical coherence and correspondence to reality, or

2) Primitive primate screeching, usually meant to convey tribal identity and often serving as a prelude to throwing poop.

Most conservative writing falls under (2), and Niall's propaganda above is a good example.

This kind of crap annoys me because it makes me yearn for the old days of coherent, logical thought from the mouth of a crypto-Nazi like William F. Buckley. At least he was presenting something recognizable as "argument".

Philip said...

Laugher curve? Ha, ha!

Procopius said...

I don't know why so many people miss the point. Niall Ferguson is a novelist. Why people insist on treating him as a scholar is a puzzle. He wrote a novel about the history of money that impressed a lot of people. I guess it was entertaining, I haven't watched the movie. He wrote a novel about what could have happened if the Germans had won World War I, and a lot of people thought it was true. I can't imagine why. I think that was the one that got him hired as a historian at Cambridge (England). Big mistake. Ever since Harvard (Cambridge, U.S.A.) hired him he's been embarrassing himself by writing for conservatives and displaying both ignorance and muddled thinking. Please leave the poor fellow alone. Just ignore him.

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