2010-11-15

Alan Blinder's Embarrassing Defense of Ben Bernanke

Alan Blinder argues in a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed (gated) that The Federal Reserve is making the right moves to help the economy. Here is his fool-proof argument:
I know Ben Bernanke. Ben Bernanke is a friend of mine. And critics ranging from Mr. Schauble to Ms. Palin are no Ben Bernankes.
Well, QED.

If all it takes to exonerate reprehensible fiscal policy is the personal voucher of Alan Blinder, then macroeconomics has come a long way indeed! You know, they used to demonstrate this stuff with models and assumptions and diagrams and such. Gone are the days. Blinder's embarrassing column has two main thesis statements:
  1. Current Fed policy is no different than past Fed policy.
  2. Bernanke is smart and Sarah Palin isn't.
The really embarrassing thing about this article is that it is simultaneously economically weak and dismissive of all criticism. It is a classic straw-man fallacy, where all critics are dismissed as "the economic equivalent of the Flat Earth Society" if they disagree with Blinder's buddy.

Get real.

No, I mean it, Alan Blinder. Get real. If you want to defend your friend's policies, then try engaging the opposition in genuine and open debate, rather than dismissing them all as a bunch of Sarah Palins. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

I expect this article will cause a lot of controversy in the economics blogosphere, and rightly so.