98 Foreign Aff. 176 (2019)
Snake-Oil Economics

handle is hein.journals/fora98 and id is 178 raw text is: 





Snake-Oil

Economics

The   Bad   Math   Behind
Trump's Policies

N   Gregory   Mankiw



Trumponotmics: inside the America First
Plan to Revioe Our Econonv
BY  STEPHEN MOORE AND
ARTHUR B. LAFFER. All Points
Books, 2018, 287 pp,

           hen economists write, they
           can decide among three
           possible voices to convey
their message. The choice is crucial,
because it affects how readers receive
their work.
   The first voice might be called the
textbook aut-ioritx Here. economists
act as ambassadors for their profession.
They  faitiful y present the wide range
of views professiona economists hold,
acknow  edging the pros and cons of
each. Thee  authors do their best to
hide their personal biases and admit that
thsere is still plenty that economists do
not know. According to this perspective,
reasonable people can disagree; it is the
authors job to explain the basis for that
disagreement and help readers make an
informed judgment.

N. GREGORY  MANKIW  is Robert M, Beren
Professor of Economics at Harvard University.
From 2003 to 2005, he was Chair of the Council
of Economic Advisers under U.S. President
George W Bush.


   The second voice is that of the nu-
anced advocate. In this case, economists
advance a point of view while recognizing
the diversity of thought among reasonable
people. They use state-of-the-art
theory and evidence to try to persuade
the undecided and shake the faith of
those who disagree. They take a stand
without pretending to be omniscient.
They acknowledge that their intellectual
opponents have some serious arguments
and respond to them calnly and
without vitriol.
   The third voice is that of the rah-ra
partisan. Rah-rah partisans do not build
their analysis on the foundation of profes-
sional consensus or serious studies forn
peer-reviewed journals. They deny that
people who disagree with them may have
some logical points and that there may be
weaknesses in their own arguments. In
their view, the world is simple, and the
opposition s just wrong, wrong wrong.
Rah-rah partisans do not aim to persuade
the undecided. They aim to rally the
faithful.
   Unfortunately, this last voice is the
one the economists Stephen Moore and
Arthur Laffer chose in writing treir
new book, 'Iumponi. ' he book's
over-the-top enthlusiasm for U.S. Presi-
dent Donald Trump's sketchy econornic
agenda is not likey to convince anyone
not already sporting a Make America
Great Again hat.

ECONOMIC TRIBALISM
Moore  and Laffer served as economic
advisers to Trump during his campaign
and after he was elected president (along
with Larry Kudiow, the current director
of the National Economic Council. who
wrote the book's foreword). Prom this
experience, Moore and Laffer apparently


176   FOREIGN AFAIRS

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