For the Irony Challenged.
Paul Krugman explains what most find obvious. I have my own theory that I will explain after the quote.
No, John Maynard Keynes didn’t think that burying bottles full of cash in coalmines was the best way to end the Great Depression.
No, I am not actually proposing that we fake an alien invasion.
No, Larry Summers isn’t suggesting that we create lots of bubbles. (Nor, by the way, was I actually calling for a housing bubble in 2002. I was, instead, trying to highlight the problems of getting monetary traction in an economy that “wants” a negative interest rate — which is exactly what everyone is talking about now.)
I’m always amazed at how many people doing economics — or lots of other things — are so rigid and humorless that they apparently can’t grasp the point or usefulness of slightly whimsical thought experiments.
Of course some people, probably the same set of people who take Fox News seriously, really do lack the irony sensor. Others, I think, are so heavily emotionally invested in their own views that they grasp franctically at anything that might discredit the opponent. Thus, Krugman's or Keynes's whimsy is seized upon as an example of their disconnection from reality. Doubtless we all suffer some sorts of related selective stupidity, but I think that the repeated failures of attempts to create "conservative" humor shows a certain systemic conservative cluelessness. To be sure, many dogmatic leftists have similar blindspots. Maybe it's a disease of idealogues of every stripe.