Having been out of state for much of this week, it has been tougher to follow the action locally, here in New Mexico, but I did see this great article from the Wall Street Journal from Wednesday. The authors’ essential argument is that while we expect Congress and corporations to behave badly, we have seen an unfortunate abandonment of principle from many economists relating to the spate of bailouts and the role of government in having created the current economic malaise.
As the authors conclude:
Our desire for a principled approach to this crisis does not arise from an academic need for intellectual coherence. Without principles, policy makers inevitably make mistakes and succumb to lobbying pressure. This is what happened with the Bush administration. The Obama administration can do better.
Principle, especially relating to limited government, is more important than ever these days. Usually economists are among the most principled members of society, but supporters of bailouts and arbitrary, massive government spending have debased the field.