By William K. Black
March 14, 2019 Bloomington, MN
Number 6 in a Series of Articles on MMT
Justin Wolfers is an economist who is disgracing the university I love, the University of Michigan. I had the great fortune to be born in Detroit and receive the first seven years of my higher education as an instate student at the University of Michigan. I was able to graduate with virtually no debt. Wolfers is also a native of Australia, which means he is familiar with kangaroos. That familiarity is ironic because Wolfers is devoting his time these days to serving as the chief apologist for a kangaroo court of orthodox economists that convened to declare Modern Monetary Theory (MMT) anathema.
Kangaroo courts are sham legal proceedings which are set-up in order to give the impression of a fair legal process. In fact, they offer no impartial justice as the verdict, invariably to the detriment of the accused, is decided in advance.
The orthodox economists’ kangaroo court met that definition. Here is what happened – and there is no factual dispute about it. MMT opponents ignorant of MMT scholarship drafted two strawman questions. (They were actually the same question, with unimportant changes in phraseology.) The willingness of people who never read MMT scholarship to be fervent opponents of MMT demonstrates the severity of the scandal. The kangaroo ‘poll’ drafters falsely claimed that MMT scholars would answer “yes” to both questions. Indeed, the deliberate implication was that a “yes” answer to both questions defined MMT’s core precepts. MMT scholars have repeatedly and unequivocally made clear for decades that the answer to both questions is “no.” MMT scholars have repeatedly and unequivocally over the last nine years explained to Paul Krugman, the falsity of his recurrent ascription of the same strawman used by the orthodox economists’ kangaroo court to MMT scholars. As I have demonstrated in prior articles in this series, Brad DeLong has documented Krugman’s repeated falsehoods, the repeated statements of MMT scholars refuting Krugman’s strawman claims, and the clear statements by MMT scholars as to what they actually believe, write, and teach.