By William K. Black
(Cross posted at Benzinga.com)
The New York Times Incompetence in Macroeconomic Reporting (IMR) Award
I have written repeatedly about the New York Times’ needs to create a prize in incompetence in macroeconomic reporting (IMR) and suggested that the paper award the IMR prize to its reporters. I suggested that the prize consist of a two hour lunch with Paul Krugman in which he will provide them with a remedial lecture on why austerity is an economically illiterate response to a recession.
NYT columns discussing austerity, particularly in the eurozone, demonstrate that its reporters religiously avoid reading Krugman’s scores of columns on austerity. As always on this subject, I want to make express that I don’t insist that the reporters agree with economics. It is fine for reporters to state that economics has known for 75 years that austerity is a self-destructive response to a recession but that some economists disagree. It is fine for the reporter to explain why he agrees with the austerian economists. It is not acceptable journalism to ignore the dominant economic view, 75 years of supporting events, and the empirical studies by austerians (the IMF) finding that fiscal changes have more powerful effects on the economy consistent with the dominant theory. It is not acceptable journalism to ignore unemployment and inequality and the role of austerity in increasing both. I end by expanding on Krugman’s column about a tragic financial media meme by discussing three related memes that are causing great harm.