Arnold Kling  

We are All Sumnerians Now?

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A great sentence:


But I'm not sure Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and the others were in fact making any major mistakes in 2006 beyond underestimating how inept they would be in the fall of 2008 and the winter of 2008-9.

Scott Sumner? No, that is Matt Yglesias.


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CATEGORIES: Monetary Policy



COMMENTS (6 to date)
Jeremy, Alabama writes:

We really ought to be making a big deal out of ineptness. When one takes it upon oneself to commit trillions of dollars as 'bailouts', taken from a sullen and resentful population hundreds or thousands of miles from the scene of the action, while wagging one's finger saying 'this is for your own good', one had better be right.

The media pumps the idea that things would be worse without the intervention. How, exactly? With the trillions now disposed of, and the economy in the tank, the solution now seems far worse than the problem.

Daniel Kuehn writes:

I don't think anyone in Yglesias's camp is relying on Sumner for accusations of Fed ineptness.

What I think they are more likely to do is suggest that the Fed could have done worse than it did. Sumner seems reticent to admit this. They're also going to disagree with Sumner on the wisdom of fiscal policy, given our position at the zero lower bound.

But as far as I can tell, nobody has ever needed the market monetarists to tell them that monetary policy could have been even stronger than it was.

Thomas writes:

Daniel, Yglesias has as a matter of a fact, actually relied on Sumner for accusations of Fed ineptness.

Of course the Fed could have done worse. Sumner doesn't deny that we're not in a second Great Depression. The fact that they've done worse in the past makes it easy to see how it would be possible to do even worse than they've done this time.

People who suggest that the "zero lower bound" is important are generally exactly the sort of people who have a difficult time seeing that "monetary policy could have been even stronger than it was."

Grant Gould writes:

I initially misread the headline as "We are all Sumerians now" and wondered if now we all build ziggurats, wear feathered headdresses, and use a written language mixing Akkadian words with an agglutinative syntax from an earlier linguistic isolate.

Jeff writes:

Grant, I tried doing all that stuff in 2008, but it just didn't catch on. Maybe Etruscan is the way to go.

Brian Moore writes:

@Grant Gould:

So did I! I figured it might have been on purpose since this is the only site I know that has cuneiform at the bottom of the page! :)

Apparently we should be voting Gilgamesh in 2012.

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