Credentialism

Herman Cain has moved quickly to the lead dog position in the Republican presidential candidate polling, largely on the strength of his “9-9-9” plan for tax reform. This plan is definitely a step in the right direction, in terms of taxing consumption rather than income, but more importantly offers a candidate who is willing to talk about, and offers to change, the manifestly unfair tax system. The plan was apparently developed by his financial adviser, a Mr. Lowrie, who does not have a Ph.D. in economics. The press and other candidates are therefore ridiculing the plan on that basis, obviously because Ph.D. economists have been so successful in forecasting and managing the economy. Not. Credentialism is useless most of the time, but nowhere more than in economics, where an inbred group pats one another on the back while the world economies crash and burn under their advice. Mr Cain’s adviser’s lack of credentials is encouraging – it means he can have fresh ideas and, most importantly, some contact with reality. I think some of the other candidates, specifically Michelle Bachmann, have damaged themselves badly with their attacks on these ideas.

Meanwhile the President seems to believe in the big lie, blaming Senate Republicans for the defeat of his “jobs” bill, a.k.a. Stimulus 3.27.6.1, when in fact it was defeated by inability of the majority party in the Senate, his own Democratic party, to muster enough votes in its favor. Well, at least the New York Times ran with the lie. He also points out that his bill is supported by “Independent economists who do this for a living.” Do what? Support jobs bills for a living? Sounds about right to me. Get serious, Mr President, make your own arguments, don’t lay it off on a bunch of folks with expensive credentials but no track record or credibility. He must have realized that this was pretty lame, because he led with his own idea, the race card. Puhleeze. I guess it was that or “it’s for the children.” Pathetic.

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