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Economics Bloggers to the Rescue, if You Crave Useful Information

If you’ve been reading the traditional press to try to understand the financial meltdown of the past week and the government’s responses, you’ve probably become more confused than enlightened. This comes as no surprise, given the general ignorance of economics among so many journalists. They’re doubly burdened now, they’re confronting the typical (these days) lack of detail from authorities as well as the well-founded sense that the government is making this up as it goes.

So much of the coverage has centered on the amount of taxpayer financing the government gurus want: $700 billion. Too little has been about where it would go and what it would do.
So I’ve been turning to real experts, people like Brad DeLong, the UC-Berkeley economist whose blog is a must-read if you want to be even halfway well informed. It takes some work to parse postings like “The Liqudity Trap, and Open Market Operations on the Risk Premium on a Pan-Galactic Scale” — but the information is incredibly useful and illuminating.

DeLong is of the best of the economics bloggers: incisive, smart and constantly pointing us to other writers and resources, including people who don’t agree with him, some of whom are politically very opposed to his views. Solid stuff, and critically important at this scary juncture…

0 Comments on “Economics Bloggers to the Rescue, if You Crave Useful Information”

  1. #1 Jon Garfunkel
    on Sep 22nd, 2008 at 6:22 pm

    re:”This comes as no surprise, given the general ignorance of economics among so many journalists.”

    You forgot about my friend from the Weekly Bull— Ad Hominem. Perhaps the McCain campaign is comforted by your observation (today: “Whatever The New York Times once was, it is today not by any standard a journalistic organization…”)

    It’s funny how I was trying to come up with some possibly well-informed economics blogger who outscooped the big press, and I came up with Brad DeLong. I tried to find the earliest of his mention of “subprime” in his blog, and found it in 2007. It so happens he is the single blogger you come up with. And looking at his blog this week, I see a bunch of links-and-excerpts (he also pasted the entirety of the Dodd bill in HTML– wtf?). I suppose he’s a smart guy, he worked for Clinton, but I have no idea what ideas he’s come up with himself.

    It’s an attention game. DeLong may still be banking on his being an early adopter amongst economic professors. The catch is, big media has many pundits to tap before him.

    I was watching MSNBC tonight. Olbermann had on Paul Krugman; Maddow had on Robert Reich. Whether or not these guys are the most expert, producers go with them. Krugman obviously has had a good run of explaining economics in lay terms, and was able to stop by the Secaucus studio; Reich is a bit more audiogenic, and appeared split-screen in L.A. Krugman is by far the most read-and-linked economic pundit in America today. Perhaps he over-extended himself on politics over the last 4 years; a good press critic could make that case.

  2. #2 Joel
    on Sep 30th, 2008 at 5:23 pm

    After the House of Representatives rejected “The Bailout” Brad Delong said:

    “As I said, raze the Republican Party to the ground. Plough it under. Scatter salt in the furrows so it can never grow back.”

    That bailout was a really bad bill. If the Republicans hadn’t voted against it, it would have passed. As a lifelong Democrat, I’m really glad that the Republicans killed it.

    Let’s have hearings and an informed debate, not legislation written in the dark of night and railroaded through the Congress.

    I’m wondering why you recommended following DeLong, Dan. I’d suggest switching to the Dean Baker channel. Definitely.