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Consensus War: 300+ Top Economists Disagree With Obama’s “No Disagreement” Remark


During a time of controversy, the best way to win over public opinion is to convince the public that there is no controversy. Sometimes, when an issue is too complicated for the general public to make an informed decision on their own, they rely on the opinions of experts, and politicians stop debating the points of the issue, and start debating the consensus. That’s a consensus war. It’s happening with the global warming issue, and it’s happening with the economy. A reasoned, logical debate of the finer points of the fiscal policy won’t convince the average American. The only way to win the hearts and minds of the American people is to tell them the experts opinion.

Recently, Obama attempted to shut down the controversy surrounding his so-called “stimulus” package by saying “there is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.” Then later saying “economists from across the political spectrum agree” on the need for this massive government spending package. Of course, that is not the case. In actuality, many, if not most, economists disagree with the stimulus package. So in response, the Cato Institute took out a full page ad in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, and Roll Call disputing the president’s claim. Hundreds of top economists, including Nobel laureates and prominent scholars from major universities, signed the statement. There were more than 200 economists signatures on the original ad, and over 100 more have signed on since then. Read on to see the original ad:

the original, full-page Cato ad can be found here in pdf form

Text from the ad:
“There is no disagreement that we need action by our government, a recovery plan that will help to jumpstart the economy.”

With all due respect Mr. President, that is not true.

Notwithstanding reports that all economists are now Keynesians and that we all support a big increase in the burden of government, we do not believe that more government spending is a way to improve economic performance. More government spending by Hoover and Roosevelt did not pull the United States economy out of the Great Depression in the 1930s. More government spending did not solve Japan’s “lost decade” in the 1990s. As such, it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today. To improve the economy, policy makers should focus on reforms that remove impediments to work, saving, investment and production. Lower tax rates and a reduction in the burden of government are the best ways of using fiscal policy to boost growth.”