• More like Krugman: I don’t know. More true to our own knowledge and passion: I think so

    Austin asks a good question in his last post. I’ve certainly been animated by my own experiences to become more involved in politics and policy. I’ve tried to do so in a civil and honest way that reflects the skills of our profession. I’ve found this gratifying. It’s brought terrific opportunities. It’s brought some personal and professional sacrifices, too.

    My TIE postings are generally pretty restrained. This is not the proper forum for higher-temperature things. The web offers plenty of outlets for partisan zeal. We offer something different here. We hope that we add value for readers who embrace a number of partisan and ideological perspectives.

    Readers who want to see some of my more politically-engaged pieces look here (in 2008, about why Obama and Clinton people needed to look past their intra-party fight) here (criticizing Rick Santorum on politicizing disability issues), here (on bringing a disabled loved one home), here (on Medicaid and block grants) and here (what it was like to participate in the health reform fight), here (on death panels), here (defending Medicaid and rebutting attacks on presumed welfare dependence of Medicaid recipients), here (on the likely consequences of a Romney victory), here (on Chicago’s tough times), and here (ripping into a shock jock who said mean things about kids with autism).

    I think we should emulate Krugman’s analytic rigor, his often-beautiful writing, and his concern for people in America who desperately need help. Of course few of us have Krugman’s platform, polemical skills, professional stature, or his zeal for the fight. I think my own best journalism and blogging combine my substantive knowledge with my personal passion about specific issues. Sometimes it works, sometimes not.

    I tend to shout a bit less than Krugman does. That’s generally not my thing. I do share his anger, though. People need to follow their own path, stay within their own game. That’s mine.


    • We can be nice, but I also think we need to be more ready to admit an opponent is not arguing from good faith. For example, when leading Republican economists broadly question the value of Keynsianism stimulus after providing the Keynsian intellectual foundation for Bush’s stimulus in 2001, we should call a spade a spade: pure partisan nonsense.

      But you actually shouldn’t engage intellectually when someone is being transparently biased. This allows them to “muddy the waters” by bogging down the argument in technical details. Technical discussions are important, but leave it to the technical journals. For a general audience, have the courage to stand up and simply say you’re lying and you’re hypocritical. Krugman has become shrill because so few of his compatriots are willing to stand with him when he points out obvious intellectual fraud, so he screams to be heard.

    • I think the problem may be the issues not the advocates. Is there an issue where there IS a consensus or near consensus among health service researchers, not just an area where there SHOULD be a consensus because the evidence is one-sided? The disadvantages of the current form of employer-based coverage? I assume there is at least a near consensus on the importance of expanding research on comparative effectiveness, even if there are strong disagreements about how to translate those findings into practice. Would the community appear too self-serving to be effective advocates on that issue. Perhaps there a some government regulations that those who generally support government intervention would agree are harmful?