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The battle of the economic giants rages on.


Today, James Galbraith wrote an open letter to Alan Krueger, Austan Goolsbee, Christina Romer, and Laura D’Andrea Tyson in response to their open letter earlier this week warning against the less well-known economist Gerald Friedman. Friedman had the temerity to project that Bernie Sanders’s policies would result in a 5.3 percent growth rate, which the four economists—all former chairs of the Council of Economic Advisers—deemed “extreme.”

One of Galbraith’s main problems is that the CEA letter does not provide any detailed explanations.

It is not fair or honest to claim that Professor Friedman’s methods are extreme. On the contrary, with respect to forecasting method, they are largely mainstream. Nor is it fair or honest to imply that you have given Professor Friedman’s paper a rigorous review. You have not.

He also accuses them of having “lit a fire” under Paul Krugman, who has used his platform at the New York Times to denounce the Friedman paper as “deep voodoo” and “fairy dust,” without providing the aforementioned careful economic assessments. David Dayen made a similar argument today in an excellent New Republic article, stating, “Instead of going point by point on those agenda items, the CEA chairs decided to argue from authority,” resulting in a “‘do you know who I am?’ style of argument.”  

If this all seems a little like the Real Housewives of Economic Wonkery, it’s because it is. I, for one, am excited for the next open letter installment.