Hooray For Our Side
By David Henderson
What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
–Buffalo Springfield, “For What It’s Worth”
Now that I’ve had more time to think about the economists’ statement against Trump, I’ve figured out more specifically what bothers me about it. It’s the item I mentioned yesterday, but I find it even more troubling than I did.
Here’s the bullet point I highlighted, and it’s the first point they make:
He degrades trust in vital public institutions that collect and disseminate information about the economy, such as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, by spreading disinformation about the integrity of their work.
I challenged the wisdom of putting that point first because it’s one of the weakest points they could make compared to the others and, I suggested, it makes the economists signing it look nerdy and self-interested.
But I think I understand better why the writers of the statement led with that bullet point. I think it’s because this is one of their strongest objections to Trump. I thought back to a prominent economist I know who’s a fairly mild-mannered man and also a fairly free-market guy whom I’ve seen twice now in public forums get very upset against Republicans in Congress who want to cut funding of government data collection. I’ve never seen him get that upset at anything else the government has done. (We’re also on pretty friendly terms and so, no, I’m not going to name him.)
If their goal had been to do the maximum to persuade people not to vote for Trump, there is no way they would have led with that statement. I think that a lot of what people do when discussing politics is mostly say “Hooray for our side.”