New Watchdog Project Targets Neoliberal 'Hacks' Posing as Economic Prophets
"Anyone who claims they have the absolute answer to every economic question isn't being honest with you. They're being a hack, and they shouldn't be considered serious sources."
Taking aim at "conflicts of interest and flat-out falsehoods in economics reporting and the so-called experts who perpetuate them," the Revolving Door Project on Wednesday launched a new website, Hack Watch, to name and shame Wall Street-friendly experts pushing often harmful neoliberal financial theories as absolute truths.
"Anyone who claims they have the absolute answer to every economic question isn't being honest with you. They're being a hack, and they shouldn't be considered serious sources," Max Moran, the personnel team director at Revolving Door Project (RDP), said in a statement introducing the new site.
"Economists like to sound certain, and they like to ridicule anyone who disagrees with them."
A follow-up to RDP's wildly successful Hack Watchnewsletter—which began by scrutinizing former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, often called "Wall Street's favorite economist," and his cryptocurrency partnerships—the website features an FAQ section on the federal debt as well as a "Trope Tracker" meant to dispel "common fallacies, falsehoods, and framing mistakes in economics coverage."
"Economists like to sound certain, and they like to ridicule anyone who disagrees with them," said Moran. "This can incline reporters, especially reporters who worry that they don't understand economics very well, to defer to economists unquestioningly."
In the neoliberal age, economic analysis (from the right kind of neoclassical economists) was considered scientific truth. This is nonsense. Economics isn't a hard science, it's a method of analysis—a set of tools that help us to understand a few particular ways of how the economy works. Deciding what's actually right or wrong for the economy is always, ultimately, a matter of values and philosophy, which we express through politics.
"Top hacks" who already have bios on the new site include Summers, 2009 auto industry bailout architect Steven Rattner, Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget president Maya McGuineas, and senior vice president Marc Goldwein.
"Economics isn't a hard science, it's a method of analysis—a set of tools that help us to understand a few particular ways of how the economy works."
"When these hacks receive air time, they often present the existing socio-economic order as a natural phenomenon, softly echoing Margaret Thatcher's famous 'no alternative' declaration," said Dylan Gyauch-Lewis,who co-leads the Hack Watch project, in a reference to the former right-wing British prime minister's infamous neoliberal slogan.
"In a time of crisis after crisis, we cannot afford to restrict the public's imagination to the world as it was in 1992," Gyauch-Lewis asserted. "The staid old guard not only restricts the public conception of what economic policy can be, it misleads about what that view already is."
"To allow the same few Clintonian New-Democrats to monopolize discourse does viewers, policymakers, and the world a great disservice," he added.