by Patrick Appel

Manzi forcefully rebuts Chait:

Macroeconomic assertions about the effect of a proposed stimulus policy are not valueless, but despite their complex mathematical justifications, do not have standing as knowledge that can trump common sense, historical reasoning, and so on in the same way that a predictive rule that has been verified through experimental testing can.

When using stimulus to ameliorate the economic crisis, we are like primitive tribesmen using herbs to treat an infection, and we should not allow ourselves to imagine that we are using antibiotics that have been proven through clinical trials. This should not imply merely a different feeling about the same actions, but should rationally lead us to greater circumspection.

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