Every citizen needs to know there is no such thing as an unbiased economist. Each one has a political bias, and it colors every aspect of their work.
There are only two types of economists: conservative and liberal. Some insist there is a third category of "moderates." I'll address them in Part 2 of this post.
Conservative economists support the wealthy few. Occasionally one of them will show their bias and say something like "greed is good." But for the most part they rarely admit it publicly.
In fact, it's always safest to assume that an economist is conservative, because most of them are. It's how they are trained ... and how they are paid.
Conservative economists condemn government programs that help common citizens. They attack them with terms like "fiscally irresponsible" or "inflationary." Or they describe progressive taxation, where wealthy people get a higher tax rate than poor people, as "class warfare." They frequently use lofty phrases like "free markets" or "the wisdom of the markets" with religious undertones, as if their economic views are divinely inspired or rooted in universal truths. They falsely assert that the US has the "highest living standard" or the "strongest economy in the world."
Conservative economists insist that everyone benefits when the wealthy few are paid incredible amounts of money. They claim the economy thrives when income and wealth grows faster at the top of the pyramid than for the rest of us. They insist that the wealthy few "earned it" and are "worth every penny" when in fact the vast majority of executive fat cats get their money from their board buddies, who expect the same thing in return from their board buddies, in a self-reinforcing chain of executive compensation favors.
Don't be fooled by Nobel awards. The arch-villain of all modern-day economists was Milton Friedman. He got one back in 1976. This award helped launch a huge wave of conservative deregulation which ultimately created our current depression (See It's a Depression, Stupid!).
And don't be so foolish as to think Democratic presidents only appoint liberal economists! Most of the top appointments made by Clinton and Obama to the Treasury and the Fed were very conservative economists. Republicans were delighted.
The only safe assumption about an economist is that they are conservative. The burden of proof is on them. Either they advocate for programs that directly benefit common citizens, or they don't.
The most famous of liberal economists today is Paul Krugman. Everything he writes is driven by an earnest attempt to advocate for common citizens. He is unafraid to say he supports many aspects of Keynesian economics, which would be an act of professional suicide for almost anyone else. You see, he has a Nobel award, too. So it's hard to summarily dismiss him.
In Part 2 of this post, I list some of the most famous conservative economists, and discuss the tricky category of "moderate."