Kevin Hassett, Glenn Hubbard, Greg Mankiw and John Taylor Need to Answer This Post of Brad DeLong's Point by Point

This is an important challenge by Brad DeLong to what Kevin, Glenn, Greg and John have said in defense of Mitt’s economic policy statements. They need to answer Brad. 

I have a cameo in Brad’s post. He writes:

Some economists–Miles Kimball comes to mind–think that the ultimate Romney plan will turn out to be something sensible, but that Romney cannot say what it is because doing so would disrupt the con Romney is currently running on the Republican base. Miles may be right. I fear he is overoptimistic.

I do think that Mitt is more sensible than he makes himself sound, but if I can manage to avoid a Bayesian arithmetic error, the current Intrade probabilities of 43.0% for Mitt becoming president together with the 27.7% Intrade probability of the Presidency, the Senate and the House all being controlled by Republicans imply that, conditional on Mitt being elected, there is something like a 27.7%/43.0% = .644 = 64.4% chance that Mitt will face two houses of Congress both controlled by Republicans. I think Mitt will make many serious mistakes if he is working with a Republican Senate and a Republican House of Representatives. 

Mitt’s performance as president will be much better if he faces either a Senate or a House of Representatives in Democratic control. Then the reality of working with a divided government will cause many unwise campaign promises to fall by the wayside. The more Mitt is forced by circumstances to improvise, the more his underlying good sense will come out. But unfortunately, Mitt, if he is elected, may well lack the strong Democratic checks and balances he needs to be as good a president as he could be.

More optimistically, it may well be that in the next two years between the presidential election and the midterm election we have reason to be grateful for how difficult it is to avoid filibusters in the Senate.  

Giving Credit: This post was inspired by ProGrowthLiberal’s post at Econospeak: “Team Romney Responds to Paul Krugman but not to Brad DeLong. ProGrowthLiberal say this:

Greg Mankiw lets us know that John Taylor has responded to a brief critique from Paul Krugman. John tells us that “Paul Krugman is Wrong”. Odd that neither Greg nor John addressed the savage review from Brad DeLong. It would have been impossible to miss Brad’s critique since Paul not only linked to it but based much of what he wrote on Brad’s review. So what are we to make of this omission from Team Romney? Do they agree with everything Brad said? Or are they just not willing to have an open and honest debate on the issues?

I noticed ProGrowthLiberal’s post because Mark Thoma flagged it on his Economist’s View site–which serves a crucial aggregator role for independent economics blogs in addition to carrying Mark Thoma’s own posts.  

Technical Note: Tumblr link posts such as this one are intended to emphasize what they are pointing to: in this case, Brad’s post. So the title of my post is a link to Brad’s. To find the address of one of my link posts, you can always use the "All posts by date” button on the sidebar.  In this case, the address is

Style Guide Note: In order to emphasize the equality of all human beings, in posts appearing on, I lean toward referring to public figures as well as others by their first names. (Of course, I only follow that rule as long as it does not get in the way of clarity or conflict too much with other stylistic considerations. I am less consistent in using first names in tweets, since there, readers don’t have as much chance to get used to it.)  

Conflict of Interest Notice: Mitt is a relative, though not that close. His father George Romney (the former Governor of Michigan) was my grandmother Camilla Eyring Kimball’s first cousin. I am named after our common ancestor Miles Park Romney.

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Paul (Ryan):