Wednesday, March 11, 2009


What happened to accountability? There's a disturbing lack of it among our elites today. If you're a politician or pundit who told the public we'd be "greeted as liberators" or needed to go to war in Iraq so that Arabs would learn to "suck on this," then you are still considered a credible commentator - by other elites - on what we should do in Iraq today. If you're a bank executive and you've mismanaged things so badly that your bank needs a bailout to avoid bankruptcy, then you are just the person to navigate your firm back to health (while still shelling out million dollar bonuses to yourself and employees, of course). If you're a financial news channel that constantly hyped up the bubble and had its anchors simply repeat whatever CEOs told them, then you are still considered the first stop for financial analysis.

And if you're a conservative think tank that touted countries that embraced the type of laissez-faire reforms you champion, only to watch those countries self-immolate two years later...then you are still the go-to source on economic policy for Republicans. From Krugman:
And wide-open, loosely regulated financial systems characterized many of the other recipients of large capital inflows. This may explain the almost eerie correlation between conservative praise two or three years ago and economic disaster today. “Reforms have made Iceland a Nordic tiger,” declared a paper from the Cato Institute. “How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger” was the title of one Heritage Foundation article; “The Estonian Economic Miracle” was the title of another. All three nations are in deep crisis now.
If you thought Iceland, Ireland, and Estonia were model economies, why should anyone take your economic advice seriously? It would be as if liberals hyped the success of central planning in communist 1988.

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