Tuesday, February 01, 2005

An Exciting Time for Economists

Ideally, I'd love to see a public debate on Social Security Privatization. Congressional hearings about what will work, what won't. Different plans and a national discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of proposed pieces of a solution.

Unfortunately, I suspect the President doesn't want this to happen (see: Shinseki, Eric; Powell, Colin; O'Neill, Paul) but it would be great if it did.

What an exciting time to be an economist in that environment? Proposing models, critiquing other's work, being called to testify before Congress...it could be like a virtual Manhattan Project, but instead of using our best physicists to build a bomb, we'd use our best economists to develop a national retirement program.

Too bad it won't happen, but it would be nice if we tapped the best minds in our country for something in the public interest. Instead, we'll marginalize the university economists for being stupid academics and we'll have private sector or think-tank economists producing research to fit the agenda of their patrons (on both sides of the issue).

L-Hack, let me save you the keystrokes: I'm just a stupid academic communist. Oh well, I guess I'll just can my idealized pre-9/11 view of the world and stop my un-American criticism of Social Security Privatization. After all, I'm just lending aid and comfort to our enemies.


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