I don’t agree with Harvard economics professor Greg Mankiw’s views on public policy, especially not his obsession with low taxes on rich people, but I’ve always taken some solace from the fact that Mitt Romney’s campaign touts him as one of their leading economic policy gurus. That’s because Mankiw at least comes from within the basic consensus that fiscal and monetary stimulus can revive a depressed economy. It gives me some comfort to think that Romney, if elected, may at least try to boost economic growth rather than embracing the new bizarre conservative consensus around hard money.
Under the circumstances, running around the country slamming President Obama for taking advice from the “Harvard faculty lounge” is a kind of distressing sign. Clearly it’s a bit hypocritical for Romney, who went to Harvard, to be so high and mighty about this. But hypocrisy is overrated. The real issue here is substance. If elected, Romney may choose to listen to pointy-headed conservative economics professors or he might prefer to listen to practical businessmen. I think he’ll do a much better job sticking with the professors than with the businessmen.