Economist Apologizes for Opacity

In what we can only hope is the beginning of a clarity outbreak among economists, Gregory Mankiw of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors apologized yesterday for having praised offshoring:

“My lack of clarity left the wrong impression that I praised the loss of U.S. jobs. It is regrettable whenever anyone loses a job. A job loss is always an awful experience and can lead to hardship for a worker and his or her family … I regret that I did not express my views on these issues of great concern more clearly.”

Of course, Mankiw originally said that offshoring was generally good for the economy, which he almost certainly still believes. So his clarity outbreak is reality an episode of contrition for having said what he really thinks. Once again, Kinsley’s law bites back: in politics a gaffe is when a politician (or, apparently, a political economist) accidentally tells the truth.