Dear Fellow Economists, Stop Playing Politics

Laurence Kotlikoff: Those who take sides demean the profession
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 22, 2012 12:45 PM CDT

(Newser) – Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff takes note that 500 of his colleagues have signed a statement supporting Mitt Romney's policies and castigating Barack Obama's. All 500 "owe our profession a sincere apology," he writes at Bloomberg View. But this isn't a partisan rant, it's more of a plea for economists to keep their noses out of politics, which he says dumbs down what should be complicated debates within the profession.

Really, Romney's policies are all good and Obama's all bad? "No impartial economist would make such blanket assertions," he complains. "By their very nature, such statements represent political, not scientific, opinion." He also singles out Paul Krugman and Glenn Hubbard for their lefty vs. righty "op-ed war," which he says blurs the lines between economics and politics. "Economic theory isn’t up for grabs. Economic facts aren’t a matter of choice. And the integrity of the economics profession isn’t free for disposal." Read the full column here from Kotlikoff, who, yes, once ran for president on the Americans Elect platform. But he writes that he did so as an "economist" and not as a "politician."

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