Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, is feeling dyspeptic — not for the first time — over a Washington Post article published earlier this month suggesting that slow growth is the new normal in the United States. In a recent online post, Mr. Baker wondered why we should listen to people who have been wrong about everything so far. But it’s actually worse than he said.
In the Washington Post article, the case for slow growth forever is mainly made by quoting Kevin Warsh, a former governor at the Federal Reserve.
And Mr. Warsh is indeed someone who has been wrong about everything; a bubble denier who spoke of strong capital markets before the crash, a hawk who has been warning about the risk of inflation for three years, an invoker of invisible bond vigilantes who somehow managed to describe the supposed threat from these vigilantes as somehow both a certainty and unknowable.
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If there is a special distinction to those of Mr. Warsh’s speeches and articles I’ve read, it’s this: he has had a habit of saying and writing things that are supposed to be profound, but say nothing at all.
But wait: who is Kevin Warsh, anyway? Well, he’s a lawyer turned investment banker turned George W. Bush appointee to the Fed turned Hoover Institution fellow — not an economist at all.
Now, I hate credentialism: there are plenty of fools with Ph.D.s, some fools with fancy prizes and a fair number of first-rate economic thinkers without formal qualifications.