Why do people listen to economists anymore? Scott Armstrong, an expert on forecasting at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, has developed a “seer-sucker” theory: “No matter how much evidence exists that seers do not exist, suckers will pay for the existence of seers.” Even if experts fail repeatedly in their predictions, most people prefer to have seers, prophets, and gurus tell them something – anything at all – about the future.
So, we have cataloged the incredible failures of economists to predict the future or even to understand the present. Now think of the vast powers Fed economists have to print money and move interest rates. When you contemplate the consummate skill that would actually be required to manage post-Great Recession policies, you realize they’re really just flying blind. If that reality doesn’t scare the living daylights out of you, you’re not paying attention.