The job of economics writers??

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Ryan Avent, who writes the “Free Exchange” blog for The Economist, has a commentary Monday where he ends with a statement about the role of economics writers.

Avent writes, “There is a growing sense of despair among some economic writers that policymakers will not do much more to bolster the flagging global recovery. And critics who note the limits of policy intervention have a bit of a point—not all of the shortfall in demand and employment can be fixed by government intervention. But much of it can be and should be. And if it isn’t, that’s not because we lack the ability to conceive of helpful policies. It’s because policymakers are unwilling to do what they should be doing.

“It’s not the job of the economics journalist to take that as a given and declare that America will have to muddle through. It’s their job to correctly identify the problem, and name the names of those causing it.”

Kevin Drum of Mother Jones replies, “But while columnists certainly have a responsibility to explain political realities to their readers, they have an even stronger responsibility to explain the economic realities as they see them. If they legitimately think there’s nothing more that can be done, fine. But if they don’t, they shouldn’t use politics as a cover for throwing up their hands. The federal government can’t wave a magic wand and make everything OK, but there are still plenty of things left in its armory. We don’t have to accept 8-10% unemployment for the next four years if we don’t want to.”