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Ruth Marcus Disavows Neo-Hooverism

By Matthew Yglesias on October 17, 2008 at 5:14 pm

"Ruth Marcus Disavows Neo-Hooverism"

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I’ve been criticizing Ruth Marcus a lot since she published her column “When Life Hands You Deficits…” but now I see Marcus has specifically addressed these points in a Wednesday Post chat:

Prescott, Ariz.: I read your ” When Life Hands You Deficits…” article, and I think you fall into a common (at least to Washington) trap, which is assuming that a recession is a time for the government to tighten its belt and stop thinking big. [...]

Ruth Marcus: I’m sure I should have been clearer on this in the column, but I was not arguing for mid-recession belt-tightening. We’re all Keynesians now and I am open to stimulative action in the short term. What I am hoping for is that the moment could be used as a way to forge a more responsible, more productivity-enhancing budget in the longer term, that could fund investments in important things like health care, and free the next president from some of his more unaffordable promises.

We could quibble all day about what Marcus’ original column really said, but suffice it to say that I think this is the correct position and I hereby foreswear further criticizing her on this point. Let’s hope she’ll dedicate her next column to the need for a Keynsian stimulus package, taking the form of aid to state governments and investments in the kind of green infrastructure projects that can lay the groundwork for future ecologically sustainable economic growth.

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