Part 1 of this post defined liberal and conservative economists, where liberals advocate for changes that clearly support common citizens, and conservatives don’t. Now the most liberal economists are listed, and the topic of "moderates" is addressed.
The most famous of today's conservative economists is probably Robert Lucas. He was awarded an economics Nobel in 1995, and works at the University of Chicago. Yes, Milton Friedman’s old school.
One school trying to compete with Chicago’s infamy is Florida State. The Koch brothers have taken over the economics department there, and dictate which professors meet their ultra-conservative standards. Who knows; maybe they can buy Chicago’s top spot?
No list of top conservatives would be complete without Robert Barro. He is the self-appointed Paul Krugman attack-dog. He has gone so far as to claim that Krugman has no business talking about economics. Barro’s viciousness emphasizes the importance of Krugman to common citizens.
Moderate economists are trickier to spot. One day they say things that support common citizens, and the next day they say the opposite. The leading economic moderate is none other than Ben Bernanke, head of the Federal Reserve. (If you want to learn more about the Fed, click here.)
When the Obama transition team was at work in late 2008, Bernanke supported economic stimulus to help common citizens. But rather than support bold, decisive steps in proportion to the tremendous magnitude of the problem, he took a moderate stance. He compromised with conservative economists and bankers. The results speak volumes: we are still in a depression. Moderate economics is just conservative economics in slower motion. It eventually does more harm than good.
Why? Take our current crisis. After Obama’s and Bernanke's moderate steps failed, a conservative backlash was launched, which is creating even more economic suffering.
Even though the only outright beneficiaries of conservative economics are the wealthy few, huge numbers of “wealthy few wannabes” have joined the conservative ranks. They correctly conclude that moderate economics failed, but they wrongly hope that conservative economics will help them.
To summarize, there are two types of economists: liberals and conservatives. The liberals are led by Paul Krugman. The conservatives are led by Robert Lucas and his gang at the University of Chicago. And moderates are nothing more than conservatives disguised in wolf's clothing.