It's a Consensus! Better Listen! – UPDATE

Instapundit notes the economic news is pretty darned bad, and links to this smart stuff.

He also links to a CNBC report that says 150 economists “back U.S. House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner’s call to match any increase in the debt limit with spending cuts of equal size. . . ” including

“. . .Nobel laureate Robert Mundell of Columbia University and economists from schools like New York University and Georgetown University, as well as conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute.”

Wow. Hey, if I recall my ManBearPig-and-Media 101 lessons, 150 respected economists and a Nobel Laureate indicates that this is an august consensus, and therefore “the math is settled.”

We’d better listen! Do you think the press will agree?

UPDATE: Oh, SNAP! Reynolds links here (thanks Glenn!) and totally one-ups me on the theme!. Well, I don’t begrudge it; he is the champ, after all. Welcome Instapundit readers. While you’re here, take a gander at the Summablog Facelift. It makes me happy!

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • Terrye

    It really is getting kind of scary.

  • momor

    150 economists agree? Now that is truly a miracle!

  • Spendulus

    Good Point, Elizabeth.

    Are we seeing a Hide the Decline, too?


  • M. Simon

    150 economists agree? Now that is truly a miracle!

    Better recheck the footnotes and addendums. What would a real scholar say? “addenda”?

  • Mark Mc

    I bet this was “unexpected!”

  • dennymack

    If you take 150 economists and lay them end to end….

    …They point in all directions!


  • Dynan

    Bring common sense and an open mind to the party,

    they will be astonished at what can be accomplished!

    As you worship, so you think, which becomes how you act!

    Budgetting is mandatory planning,” before you build a

    tower”as Jesus said, “be sure you can finnish it!”

  • Neshobanakni

    150 economists laid end-to-end would still not reach a conclusion.

  • kenneth

    I hope those cheering for a showdown and default are prepared to live with 30 or 40% unemployment (for starters) , a collapsed currency and food and energy prices that will be several times higher. As to the cuts, where will they come from? It’s clear that any meaningful cuts to the trillion-dollar war Galactic Imperial military we have is off the table. That pretty much leaves Medicare and Social Security, which will have to be all but eliminated or will require enormous increases in personal and employer contributions, much later ages for benefits etc.

  • Bohemond

    “As to the cuts, where will they come from?”

    How about simply revoke the trillion-dollar increase in Federal spending enacted just since Obnama took office?

    Better yet, cut Federal expenditures back to FY 2007 levels. I don’t seem to recall grannie being thrown off cliffs back then.

    It always amuses me (in a nauseated sort of way) to hear libs whine that every penny of government spending is precious and essential, and without it kittens and puppies will die.

  • Cromagnum

    You want to improve the US (& probably the world) economy?

    Reduce the Federal regulatory burden on small businesses by 30%

    You get small business to just hire 1 worker each

    Unemployment will drop like a rock. It would be the kickstart heard around the world. But it might take someone dumb like Palin to actually do that.

  • backhoe

    Ma’am, I’m just a passer-by to your blog ( Although I take pains to recommend it- see the link )– all I know is you cannot print literal dollars and virtual dollars, and not back them with real products, real services, and other things of real value- and not have those dollars worth less.

    Yeah, stagflation. That’s what I mean, and that is what we are facing.

  • JP

    Kenneth said, “As to the cuts, where will they come from?”

    Here is a link to an A-Z Index of U.S. Government Departments and Agencies.

    Take your pick on where to start cutting.

  • LisaB

    “As to the cuts, where will they come from?”

    The Emperor Palpatine’s unconstitutional Libyan war for starters.

  • Medbob

    Useful, from a perspective of pointing out hypocrisy. Not really useful from a strictly logical viewpoint.

    Don’t get me wrong. I agree with the premise, and I think that they have picked probably the 150 most astute economists, but in logical evaluation it’s EXACTLY like saying that 150 Climate Scientists agree that the sky is falling tomorrow.

    Economics is not a science and has no scientific basis beyond observation and theorization. You cannot do “experiments” as there are no controls on the thousands of factors in an economy. Add to that the screwy ideas of Keynes, and you blow the credibility of the whole field out of the water!

    That being said, I agree that we MUST get our debt problem under control. Giving the Wino another bottle is just out of the question! That’s not economics, that’s common sense.

  • Medbob

    A vast reduction in Government Expenditure (and by definition employment) would cause a “bump” in unemployment numbers. It would also cause a removal of overhead in the system that would fuel more economic activity. The changes are not only numeric and monetary, but also in attitude of any clear-thinking individual.
    If you are a small business owner, considering new hiring, you have to have confidence that your business will be picking up. I know of NO ONE who has that assurance in our current environment.

    Like it or not, businesses drive the employment in this country, which is as it should be. As long as Government Policies, Regulations, Taxes, and Attitude are against business, the malaise will continue. Railing against “the rich” and speaking ill about “big companies” is a kick in the ribs when all of the above factors are pointed at entities of $250K of income. You target 90% of all business when you paint with that wide of a brush. Don’t forget: One of the points of the Alinsky Method is to “freeze” the target. That’s what has happened to business in the past couple of years. That fact will not change until there’s a thaw.

  • Medbob

    Sorry ’bout the multiple posts….


  • Teresa

    Where to cut. Start with food stamps. Briefly John Stossel noted yesterday on Fox that an Americorps volunteer told his supervisor that he really didn’t need a ATM card for food stamps. His government supervisor told him to use it anyway because when people see him using it, more will apply. Food stamps are now distributed to 44 million people today and rising.

  • Joseph Marshall

    Okay, lets take it from the top. The first step is to go back and read the original article. I know this is a radical thing to suggest, but if we’d better listen, we’d better know what we’re listening to.

    Do you think the press will agree?

    First thing to be noticed is that the original article is from Reuters and it is appearing in CNBC. I believe they are part of the press. If we need to look at who else is carrying the story, that can be done for another comment. After all, the press always needs us to listen to what they publish. If we don’t, their advertisers will desert them.

    That being settled, we can look at what the letter from the economists actually said:

    An increase in the national debt limit that is not accompanied by significant spending cuts and budget reforms to address our government’s spending addiction will harm private-sector job creation in America

    Now obviously “spending addiction” is a piece of inflamatory rhetoric, which makes no difference to the substance of what the economists had to say, but does suggest that the group is hardly disinterested and objective.

    But we can ignore it, because the substance is what we should be listening to. More importantly, it should be what the leaders of both parties should be listening to. Why? Well the Executive Branch, in the person of the Treasury Department is there to tell us:

    The Treasury Department has warned that the country could face a default that could push it back into recession and roil markets across the globe if it does not raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit by Aug 2.

    I don’t know about you, but this hardly seems to be a Hide The Decline on the Government’s part, particularly since it is the Government the accumulates and publishes all the relevant economic data. We would know nothing of it if they didn’t.

    In addition, when we look at some of the other Top Headlines from CNBC–Moody’s Warns of Rising Risk On US Credit Rating– Jobless Claims Fall Less Than Expected, Productivity Up–Employment Data May Be The Key To Obama’s Job–it hardly appears that the press is hiding anything about the situation either.

    So are our representatives listening? Let’s see.

    In talks led by Vice President Joe Biden, Republicans and Democrats have identified hundreds of billions of dollars in possible spending cuts, and both sides say they could ultimately find more than a trillion dollars in deficit savings. But they must resolve a dispute over the biggest-ticket items. Democrats say they will not consider cuts to popular health benefits until Republicans consider tax increases.

    So nobody seems to be operating under the illusion that spending cuts are not possible, or are not, under the circumstances, desirable. And this is so whether or not they are attached to inflamatory rhetoric like “spending addiction”. Indeed, sometimes I wonder whether some of us have an inflamatory rhetoric addiction.

    In addition, I wonder how many here have even bothered to ask what the proposed changes in “popular health benefits” will actually mean for their personal future. Elizabeth has just passed her 50th birthday, I believe, and it would be a very grave shame if what all this will mean for her future health coverage takes her by surprise.

    There haven’t been any good surprises in the field of health care coverage in quite some time.

  • momor

    I’m afraid we have passed a point where small or medium sized businesses can rationally have any confidence in the future no matter what govt does. That’s the problem with a global economy. It’s too big for any single govt, even one as powerful as ours, to control.

    I’m afraid that unless govt creates the jobs that gets our economy running again (infrastructure would be a good place to start) and makes the committment to select all the suppliers and workers from within our citizenry we will have to rely on businesses to get out there and take a chance and start hiring again. Nothing risked, nothing gained. If employment doesn’t pick up things will continue to stagnate and eventually spiral down until even those businesses that are holding their own now will go under.

  • Andy

    I am not an economist, however, I know that when balancing the budget at home, curtailing spending is only part of the process – we also look for other sources of income – my wife went to work. We cannot stem the tide of debt without addressing the following:
    1. wasteful wars
    2. tax cuts that do not lead to jobs – there is no proof that they do in fact history points out as did mike Spence that tax cuts do nothing for job creation
    3. Rebuilding our infrastructure which I read yesterday has been rated at a C by an Civil Engineering Society – without an infrastructure that works we can’t jumpstart the economy – this means as momor in my mind rightly said the government has to invest in the infrastructure and purchase materials only made in America
    4. I think lets curtail all of the grandstanding investigations conducted by congress – I don’t care who is in charge they waste money and do nothing for the economy -in fact I think that for every investigation (Congress having hearings about steroids in baseball or looking at the BCS for example – the list is long) the chairperson and each member of the committee should be docked their pay for that time and the money should go to a local charity.
    5. finally all of us have to ask how much money is too much – we have in my estimation fallen into the worship of mammon and have forgotten both the precepts in the Old Testament dealing with finances and what Jesus said.

  • Joseph Marshall

    I know that when balancing the budget at home, curtailing spending is only part of the process – we also look for other sources of income – my wife went to work.

    Thank you, Andy.