A Transcript article on Democratic reaction to President Bush’s plans to revamp social security reports that:

John Bakija, an assistant professor of economics at Williams College, backs the view that borrowing money to finance a Social Security overhaul leads the country down a road of piling up more debt. The key for the country’s financial success in the long run is to save money, not borrow it, he said.

I’ll leave commentary on the substantive point for another day.

Bakija is clearly a serious scholar. It is nice to see that the Econmics Department, despite having seen massive turnover in the last 20 years, continues to attract such strong economists. Perhaps his syllabus for ECON 120 is not as biased as it could be, but there are clearly many more left wing items in the reading packet than their are right wing ones — although perhaps that claim depends on how one classifies The Economist not optimal. I would certainly like to see both left and right with equal representation as well as a broader selection from across the ideological spectrum.

As always, the problem is not that Williams has professors like Bakija, professors who are active participants in the public square from the non-right-wing side. Williams needs more professors like Bakija! It just needs some professors who disagree with him, professors who would assign work from Heritage Hoover as often as they do from Brookings.

UPDATE: Having had the chance to review the syllabus more closely, and thanks to some of the input in the comments below, I rephrased the above. Upon reflection, I should not have used the word “bias”. Special thanks to Professor Bakija for providing some background information. I was especially pleased to hear that his “students frequently say that they like that they can’t tell what my views are, which I think is important for promoting critical thinking and lively debate in class.” I could not agree more.

Again, Williams needs more professors like Bakija. I hope that Williams tenures him and that he stays for 30 years. But perhaps I am just biased in favor of professors who contribute to EphBlog! ;-)

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