George Will: Economists’ fatal conceit is planning for the future

WASHINGTON — Kevin Hassett evidently has not received the memo that economics is “the dismal science.” The ebullient chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers is relishing the intellectual feast of applying to policymaking the predictive tools of a science that was blindsided by the Great Recession.

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Economists, like other scientists, learn things even when — actually, especially when — they are surprised. What must surprise Hassett today is that acrimony has infected even economists’ arguments. When he predicted that 2017 would be “the biggest supply-side policy year in American history,” he was not just thinking of the administration’s deregulations, which proceed apace, but was counting an unhatched chicken — tax reform. Concerning which:

Speaking recently to the Tax Policy Center and the Tax Foundation — left- and right-leaning, respectively — Hassett defended the administration’s tax plan, although important provisions remain undecided. He criticized the TPC for a premature analysis that used “imagined numbers” to anticipate the consequences of a bill still being written. And he said that while the plan allows for a $1.5 trillion revenue loss in a decade “statically scored” (i.e., not allowing for the …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Business

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