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In a better world, Meltzer would say the three unsayable words — “I was wrong” — and maybe even admit that the other side of the argument had something to it.
And I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to think of a single prominent conservative economist who has responded to the complete failure of his predictions by changing his views. This has long since stopped being merely an analytical issue; it has become a moral issue, a test of character. And almost everyone on that side of the debate has failed.
Although he is specifically speaking of conservative economists, I believe this quote hits at the heart of the issue with all prominent conservatives in general.
They are wrong about the 47%, Obamacare, immigration reform, climate change, the deficit, women's rights, LGBT rights, Benghazi, and the IRS.
And it's one thing to be wrong. We all get things wrong at times. Even things we shouldn't get wrong. And even to the point of stretching the limits of reality to entertain the possibility of not being wrong.
But the extent to which prominent conservatives can't ever admit when they get things wrong, bone-headedly wrong, earth-shatteringly wrong, speaks of a downright moral failure. They should be ashamed of themselves, if we had any reason left to believe that their capacity to feel shame was any less deteriorated than their capacity to simply admit when they are wrong.