The highly worthy Ross Douthat

is soon to be Bill Kristol's replacement at The New York Times.  This is a Pareto improvement for everyone but The Atlantic Monthly and readers of Ross's old blog (hey, that's a lot of people!).  Let's hope that he, like Krugman, continues to blog in addition to writing his column.  In the meantime, do you all have advice or requests for Ross?

Addendum: He will still blog!


Just don't let the fame change him. As long as he continues to do what he has been doing, his new perch will be a significant improvement to the national conversation.

So happy to hear this. I absolutely hate his views on morality (love my porn!), but he is completely readable and, while his book was kinda lame, he at least cares about policy and ideas.

When his name first surfaced I thought, "Great idea, except they chose Kristol last time so there's no way." Maybe they learned from that mistake.

My advice would be to maintain the blog. 800 words x2 is both too much and not enough for a week.

Take cash not stock

This comment

Realize that your crazy moral perspective is, in fact, crazy

followed by this comment

love my porn!

speaks volumes.

I had this come up in a PhD comparative politics seminar.

Is it actually possible to think of a change that is a Pareto improvement? Bryan Caplan says yes; that a regulation can be removed which causes improvement for everyone. I think that this might not because the bureaucrats lose in this situation.

Dr. Cowen,

Can you discuss this or point out some literature on it? Especially for us non-econ PhD students.

Congrats to Douthat and to everyone who likes to see good quality in the NY Times. His moral perspective isn't crazy; it's legit and honest and articulate and closer to most people's than the libertarian ethos too often demonstrated by MR commenters.

Damn! Gadfly beat me to it.

I, like Douthat, am a conservative/Catholic/moderate libertarian.

So I should be a big Douthat fan. Yet, I don't quite understand the praise he's receiving. Basically, the best thing going for him is that he's a moderate who writes in a tone which progressives like. But his work doesn't strike me as illuminating or interesting.

While you address your social concerns, please also make a case for at least a somewhat recognizably "conservative" fiscal policy. Times readers already know that many conservatives are against abortion. You will unlikely change the readers' minds, as the status of the fetus is not a matter of "reason" but of faith or personal moral values.

However, actual rational arguements can be made for a modest economic agenda, and if you don't make them, Times readers will conclude is, "Krugman and friends are so brilliant, even the conservative agrees with them!"

This doesn't mean calling constantly calling for tax cuts. There are other options: a negative income tax to replace many government programs, a Pigovian tax on carbon emissions to counteract a corporate tax cut, etc.

Anyway, while I don't agree with you on many issues, I think you're a beautiful writer, and wish you good luck.

It seems a little unfair to place a professional opinion-head against the freshly Nobel-minted Krugman. Status-differential overload.

If they wanted a moderate conservative they should have appointed Richard Posner who can apparently write faster than anybody can print his words.

Richard Pointer said: "Is it actually possible to think of a change that is a Pareto improvement?"

Richard, if you are tired of cleaning your apartment and you hire a cleaning lady for $50 who would rather have $50 and do your cleaning than not have $50 and not do your cleaning, then you and she have just made a Pareto improvement. You are both better off, and no one is worse off for your exchange.

Douthat is not a nasty man, like Kristol or Krugman. It is not self-righteous, and his articles have content. It's a good thing for the NYT that its two top conservative columnists are moderate Republicans.

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