Suppose you advocated the invasion of Iraq based on fear of WMD and claims that the process would be easy. Also it would be welcomed by Iraqis. Suppose you advocated tax cuts and deregulated finance thinking that this was the best way to manage economic risk and improve the economic situation generally. How can people not look at the catastrophic failure that was our invasion of Iraq, or the catastrophic failure that was the 2008 economic collapse, and not at least modify some of their opinions? And how can they treat the very people that lead us to these catastrophes as if they continue to be good sources of insight? Take a look at some of Bill Kristol's economic insights prior to the economic collapse:
After the bursting of the dot-com bubble, followed by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, we've had more than five years of steady growth, low unemployment and a stock market recovery. Did this just happen? No. Bush pushed through the tax cuts of 2001 and especially 2003 by arguing that they would produce growth. His opponents predicted dire consequences. But the president was overwhelmingly right. Even the budget deficit, the most universally criticized consequence of the tax cuts, is coming down and is lower than it was when the 2003 supply-side tax cuts were passed.His insights on foreign policy are similarly absurd in hindsight. But he's still treated with respect despite advocating policies, which were implemented thanks to his persuasive power, that have undoubtedly been so destructive.
I shared his views on the war and on Bush's tax policies. Following the collapse it was clear to me that I had been mistaken to trust people like Kristol, so I worked to try and make better sense of the data. Maybe Ron Paul understood the situation. I thought that for a while. Ron Paul expects things like runaway inflation. Seemed plausible.
Well, that's now also been put to the test. And as Paul Krugman explains here it seems pretty clear that Ron Paul is wrong. Maybe Krugman is right. Maybe the Keynsians are better at explaining things. That's what I tend to think now.
I might be wrong. I'm doing the best I can. I've been criticized for flip flopping. OK, maybe I do. But better to be a flip flopper than to be a person who's opinions are never shaken no matter what the evidence.