Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Robert Samuelson Rewrites Ecnomic History

The Washington Post provides Robert Samuelson with a weekly platform to explain economic events to his readers.  Yesterday he criticized an article by Paul Krugman who described Paul Volcker's role in disinflating the US economy.  He agrees with Krugman about the importance of Volcker's role, when he was the Chairman of the Fed, but he accuses Krugman of ignoring Ronald Reagan's heroic support of Volcker's policies.  Samuelson rewrote history to make his point.  Brad DeLong was somewhat surprised by Samuelson's historical revisionism.  He provides us with articles from the NY Times which chronicles the Reagan Administration's lukewarm support for Volcker's monetary policy.  Samuelson also forgot to tell his readers that Volcker was appointed by Jimmy Carter who understood that Volcker's policies would make it difficult for him to be reelected.  Carter was right.  The economy contracted and he was not reelected.

Most of us are critical of historical revisionism when it is employed by authoritarian regimes which control the media.  The government does not control the press in the US but it gets accomplished by different means.  We give independent journalists like Robert Samuelson the opportunity to rewrite history. 

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