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Why Gush About Another Establishment Economist?

So Jared Bernstein has a blog now that he has left the White House. Bernstein was Joe Biden's chief economic adviser. Over at FDL, Marcy Wheeler and David Dayen have both hailed the debut of his blogging career.


The truth as we all know is that progressives were persona non grata in the Obama Administration. Yet Bernstein managed to do two years there. This should tell us something about who and what he is. And if you are still unsure flip through his blog entries. What you will find are all the signs of the typical Krugmanesque Establishment liberal. He sees policy in terms of the standard Democratic vs. Republican framework. You won't find him talking about Democrats and Republicans being two faces of the same corporatist party. He argues that he might have accomplished more during his time in the Administration, but gosh darn it, it was all about consensus so he had to go along. Still overall, he feels pretty good about what was done.

I guess this is all supposed to be edifying but really what we have here is, like Krugman, another apologist of kleptocracy, that is someone who will never, never admit that kleptocracy or its massive looting and manifold frauds exist. I mean how can you accord any credibility to someone like this? Again just look at his posts.

In his most recent one, We're not all Rocket Scientists, he manages to get through it without ever discussing the lifelong indebtedness that is increasingly associated with higher education. Nope, he rather bizarrely argues that he thinks higher education is important even if grads are unlikely to find good, or even not so good, jobs. So what does it all mean? If you read Bernstein, you won't get an answer.

The post before that one "Polonius was Wrong" is about the dangers of not raising the debt ceiling. What he does not mention is that because the government's financial year begins October 1, the debt ceiling could have been raised at the end of 2010, back when Democrats still controlled both Houses. Instead he trots out a scare list of all the programs that might be affected. The list is, in fact, really just what the government spends money on. He throws in an oblique reference in parentheses about MMT and that the country sovereign in its own currency never has to default, but then goes on to say that this would be a "terrible solution" and hurt the economy, without ever saying why this would be so. I am not an MMTer but Bernstein comes across as yet another economist mired in gold standard thinking, that is if it is not all just an act.

Is next real post before that is about jobs and wages. It showcases again the goofy aspects of Bernstein's perspective. Many of us have been writing about 30 years of flat wages, high levels of unemployment, and poor job creation for years. But here Bernstein comes to the subject fresh from 2 years in an Administration that could have, you know, actually made jobs and wages a priority, and which spectacularly didn't.

More than that, there is this:

But what would help more is lower unemployment (so Paul’s right to focus on jobs) and more pressure in the job market to induce employers to bid wages up a bit, allowing workers throughout the pay scale to capture more of the economy’s real growth.

Again where would Bernstein have us believe we have been the last 30 years. During all that time, the Fed has reacted to "bidding up wages" as inflationary and moved aggressively against it. Bernanke still would. I mean that is why wages have been flat for those 30 years. Wages gains were always treated as inflationary whereas investment gains, that is transfers of wealth to the rich, were not. And yes, lower unemployment would help the economy and ordinary Americans generally but Bernstein was part of an Administration that never made job creation a priority, even a low one.

You can go through all of Jared Bernstein's posts and in all of them there is some 800 lb. gorilla that never rates a mention. I just don't see what there is to gush about in that. YMMV

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