After the relatively good jobs report today, I noticed that House Republicans were quick to claim credit; after all, they've...oh. Actually, it's very hard to draw a line between anything done by the current Congress and, well, anything, since it's too early for the new Congress to have done much of anything. Still, I don't blame them. That's what politicians, and political hacks of all sorts, do.
But as usual, there's one group missing: hack liberal economists. That is, real economists who are willing to support whatever the Democrats do. What would a hack liberal economist say in response to the jobs report? She would emphasize how bad the economy was under George W. Bush, how well-calibrated was the response from Barack Obama and the Democrats, and how well the economy is doing now. Naturally, a good hack economist would be constrained by the facts, but she would certainly be an optimist now, in order to properly congratulate the Democrats for their wise stewardship of the economy.
If there's anyone out there saying that, I haven't seen it. Paul Krugman gets the GOP-bashing right in his column today, but of course he's always been critical of the stimulus, too, and he continues to emphasize the economy's vulnerability, not its strength. On his blog today, he's mostly underwhelmed by the new numbers. Dean Baker at CEPR reacts to the jobs report with equal emphasis on strengths and weaknesses. Brad DeLong doesn't have anything up yet about the jobs report (although he does have a link to Krugman's column).
Perhaps there's someone out there that I'm missing, but if there is he's not linked to very often by the major liberal bloggers. I'm certainly not criticizing Krugman, Baker, DeLong and other liberal bloggers. Just pointing out there there's no one, at least to the best of my knowledge, using her authority as an economist to praise the president's policies and hype the results (although Jonathan Chait today does cite some writers who are more bullish on jobs). As usual, I don't have an explanation...I have no idea whether it's something about the profession, or something about the liberal market, or something else entirely. Just strikes me as interesting.