Monday, March 05, 2018

"Bad Economic Policy"

My new rule is that everyone who comments on their believed effects of economic policy should present their social welfare function. Good or bad for whom, roughly? Every prediction about something being "good" or "bad" for "the economy" implicitly has a social welfare function. Most elite commentary has at its core, even though nobody admits it, the idea that Jeff Bezos earning $1 trillion more this year is a better outcome than Jeff Bezos earning the same amount of money and $999.99 billion being split between the rest of us equally. Again, nobody actually admits that, but when distributional concerns are dismissed as requiring value judgments, and "higher GDP is always better than lower GDP no matter what the other effects" is considered to be some sort of value-neutral assertion, that's what they're saying.