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Weasel-wording isn't acceptable - implying something the facts don't support is no more OK than stating it outright.

First, there's the ordinary business of expressing a view about the economy that the reader disagrees with - e.g., "Krugman is wrong, because the government can't create jobs"; or, if you prefer, "Casey Mulligan is wrong, because we're suffering from demand problems, not supply problems." Obviously it's OK to say things like this, and sometimes the criticism is correct. (I'm not wrong, but Mulligan is!) But equally obviously, there's nothing, er, wrong about being wrong in this sense: people will disagree, and that's legitimate.

Second, and much less legitimate, is the kind of wrongness that involves making assertions that are logically or empirically indefensible. I'd put the Cochrane/Fama claims that government spending can't increase demand as a matter of accounting in this category; this is a basic conceptual error, which goes beyond mere difference of opinion. And economists who are wrong in this sense should pay a professional price.

The third kind of wrongness: making or insinuating false claims about readily checkable facts.

-- Paul Krugman


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