Friday, June 24, 2011

Not my style (follow-up)

The other day I made the most of a Michael Hudson post, pointing out that he and I agree on a lot of debt-related stuff, and that at least some of my agreement is based on my own independent analysis of long-term trends in our economy.

But then I stopped short, and said forget about reading Hudson's post. Here's why. After eight strong paragraphs, Hudson does the Kelton thing, changing horses to make the point he wanted to make all along, hoping the reader will have been drawn in by what came before, depending on the reader's sympathy for the objective that stands behind the second-horse irrelevancies:

If there was a silver lining to all this, it has been to demonstrate that if the Treasury and Federal Reserve can create $13 trillion of public obligations – money – electronically on computer keyboards, there really is no Social Security problem at all, no Medicare shortfall, no inability of the American government to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. The bailout of Wall Street showed how central banks can create money, as Modern Money Theory (MMT) explains.

The argument is only effective because people want to accept the second-horse part. But the second horse turns the first eight paragraphs of meat into fluff. It's just filler, there to draw you in, complete with the diet-of-donuts out-of-the-blue completely-irrelevant imagery of "the buildup of plaque deposits in human veins and arteries".

The whole of the first eight is as irrelevant to Michael Hudson's "silver lining" purpose as is the one line about plaque.

People dispute whether economics is science. I don't care. We have to treat it like science, regardless. We have to make our best arguments, and we have to have relevant conclusions. Otherwise, the whole thing is a joke.

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