Quite ironically, the fields of study I study most in school — Political Science, Psychology, and Economics — are some of the fields of study I have written about least on this blog. Mainly it’s because for the past year and a half I’ve been so immensely consumed with figuring out this religion thing, but I’ve long wanted to swing the philosophy/theology pendulum back a bit in favor of the stuff that I do in my day job.
Thus, for this blog, I offer a research project that I will be doing this summer. Here’s an excerpt from the research proposal that tells you what it’s going to be all about:
After the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act spent roughly $787 billion dollars in an attempt to jumpstart an economy that was killed in a 2008 recession, a group of economists called Deficit Hawks saw this as just adding to the United States debt and not doing anything to solve the problem. On the other hand, a group called the Deficit Doves has countered by saying that the stimulus bill was not large enough, and the government should be spending even more to get us out of the recession, and only cut the deficit after full employment is restored. A last group, called Functional Finance, argues that given the government is financially sovereign (can print its own money), concerns over the deficit and the national debt are counterproductive. What matters is the function of the deficit (achieving full employment) rather than its level.
In this research project, I hope to explain why there are differing views over the deficit and explore what this means for both policy debates in the United States and the field of economics as a discipline. I will (1) analyze the claims and assumptions made by each side of the deficit debate with an eye to explore why they are made and how reasonable they are given historical data, (2) explore how much economists really disagree and how their views get translated into the media and politics, (3) shed some light on why this disagreement has gone on for so long, and (4) come to a conclusion on how confident we can be, if at all, that any side of the debate is correct.
But what’s the point of making this research proposal public? The answer is that I want to blog through some of the topics as I research them. I’ve long noticed that blogging through a topic helps me clarify the issue for myself greatly — it’s one of the reasons I blog, and one of the reasons I would still blog even if no-one read my stuff. So, as I go on, I hope to get some of this stuff up here.
Followed up in: Employer of Last Resort: Economics Research
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