Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Beatings Have Not Been Harsh Enough

I suppose if cutting off unemployment benefits doesn't "work" we can begin the public floggings.

One thing I've noticed with even good liberal economists is that there's a tendency to talk about policy merits based on whether the policies are "good" or "bad" for the "economy". That is, if we can prove that cutting benefits or inequality generally is "bad" for the "economy," meaning it harms GDP or GDP growth, then we have an argument against these things. But this is just the embrace of the implicit social welfare function of W=GDP. There's some abstract imperfectly measured size of the pie that we can all agree matters. We can all agree that making the pie higher is good! Making the pie lower is bad!

This abstract number matters. The suffering of millions...not so much.