Today, Speaker John Boehner released a list of 150 economists who back the Republican position that an hike in the debt limit should be conditional on spending cuts greater than that increase. Nothing in the statement mentions fairer taxation or investments in job creation and economic growth as additional ways to manage our long-term debt.
Sounds impressive, though. 150 economists! They must know what they’re talking about, right?
Let’s sample a few stars from Boehner’s list.
There’s Larry Lindsey, President George W. Bush’s first director of the National Economic Council. Lindsey advocated for the Bush tax cuts to the wealthy as an “insurance policy” against recession.
As you may recall, we had a bit of a recession during the Bush years, which produced the worst record on job creation in modern history.
There’s Kevin Hassett, co-author of the 1999 classic book “Dow 36,000.” Hassett made a public bet that the Dow would be closer to 36,000 than 10,000 by the year 2010. Yet, the Dow was at 10,000 in 2010.
And there’s Douglas Holtz-Eakin, top economic adviser to Sen. John McCain’s presidential campaign. The McCain campaign’s response to the financial crisis was to suspend the campaign, arrange for a bipartisan meeting with the President, and then proceed to say nothing at the meeting.
These are Speaker Boehner’s wise sages whom he asks us to follow into this fiscal debate.
Contrast that to the 300 economists and civic leaders who previously signed our statement, ‘Don’t Kill Jobs And Growth In The Name Of Deficit Reduction.” That list includes such respected economists as Dean Baker, James Galbraith, Nancy Folbre, Jeff Faux, Larry Mishel and Mark Thoma.
Whether or not you have heard of these fine academics, you can take my word that they didn’t directly sink the economy, freeze in the face of crisis or convince thousands to lose their money in the stock market.