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What’s Wrong With Economists?

You probably recall Hillary Clinton turning anti-economist in the dying days of her campaign:

“Well I’ll tell you what, I’m not going to put my lot in with economists.”

And more recently John McCain has jumped aboard:

“I trust the people and not the so-called economists to give the American people a little relief.”

Honestly, I don’t get it. So let me ask two questions. And these aren’t rhetorical questions — I am serious about trying to better understand both.

First, what’s so bad about (so-called) economists anyway? I thought that the job of experts was to offer expertise. Is it that we are not offering our expertise, that we don’t have expertise to offer, or that expertise is not required? Or something else?

And second, why does economist-bashing suddenly make political sense? Both McCain’s and Clinton’s comments came subsequent to economists suggesting that the gas-tax holiday was pure pandering. And the polling I saw suggested that the public believed us. Indeed, it may even have cost Clinton a chance to turn things around in the North Carolina and Indiana primaries.

What gives?