The seen, the unseen, and the oblivious
January 28, 2013 1 Comment
Alan Blinder wonders why people hate TARP and ‘stimulus’. The whole interview is full of WTF, but this breathtaking sequence (bold emphases mine) takes the cake:
The second example of that is the stimulus bill, which has been vilified by Republicans. It’s said it didn’t create any jobs, which if you think about it for 30 seconds, it’d be impossible to spend that much money without creating any jobs.
DM: How much of this do you think has to do with people’s difficulty with reasoning counterfactually? So you see the economy, which isn’t that great, and conclude “Well TARP and the stimulus must not have worked.”
AB: I think that’s a very major part of it. In his book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, my colleague Daniel Kahneman has this concept he called WYSIATI – “what you see is all there is.” If you believe the only thing there is is what you see, what you see is …
…that ‘it’d be impossible to spend that much money without creating any jobs’, perhaps?
For crying out loud. Stuff like this is self-ridiculing. How many economists out there don’t give economics a bad name? Sometimes the percentage seems vanishingly small.