Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
September 16, 2014

Brat Says Bernanke Failed Because He Underestimated Protestants

“Ben Bernanke got it wrong because he forgot to account for God, or at least for the Protestant way of worshiping him,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“That’s the basic argument of David Brat, the Virginia Republican who toppled House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) Tuesday. Before his foray into politics, Mr. Brat has spent his career as an economics professor at Randolph Macon College in Ashland, Va., where he wrote about typical economists’ fare such as the determinants of long-term growth.”

In a 2005 paper, Brat took on Bernanke saying the former Fed chairman’s work on economic growth “overlooked the role that religious institutions–particularly Protestant ones–play in driving a country’s growth rates.”

Brat said that Protestantism “provides an efficient set of property rights and encourages a modern set of economic incentives” so “one might anticipate positive economic performance.”

He added: “Give me a country in 1600 that had a Protestant led contest for religious and political power and I will show you a country that is rich today.”

  • FrogLeg

    But he is Catholic now. WTF?

  • A.T.P.

    Nevermind that the Catholic neighbors of those countries are also rich, not to mention Japan, South Korea, and so on. Did it ever occur to him that maybe being located in Western Europe is more important for protestant countries’ wealth than being protestant?

    • Wynstone

      Just about any rational person would say he is overestimating one variable in a very complex equation.

      His whole thesis is flawed because he is assuming a moral superiority in Protestantism that can easily be deconstructed and disproved.

      • A.T.P.

        Agreed. One problem I have with arguments involving “work ethic” is that measurements for work ethic are rarely given. I’m hard pressed to think of a way to prove quantitatively that, say, the Dutch work harder than the Japanese.

    • embo66

      Clearly, Brat has upended all the usual rational processes here. He begins by assuming his theory is true, then cherry-picks some evidence to back it up.

    • Lorehead

      A quick look at the list of Protestant-majority countries shows that they include Liberia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, the Central African Republic, both Congos, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, and Papua New Guinea. But of course he picks 1600 so as to include England, but exclude the colonies of Protestant empires, then includes their settler colonies anyway.

      So, how about: Catholic in 1490?

  • Leftcoastrocky

    Cantor was the only jewish congressman

    • Lorehead

      Not so.

      • Leftcoastrocky

        republican jewish congressman

        • Lorehead

          Okay.

    • snrvlakk

      republican

    • John P. Fenner

      who was a Republican.

  • Gregory Williams

    He is another RWNJ religious freak that has no idea as to what he is talking about – he is about to flame out big time.

  • tsol

    When it comes to the Western Hemisphere, Western Europe and Down Under he’s absolutely correct.

    • KarenJ

      Right. A significant number of countries in the Arabian Peninsula have been Islamic since the seventh century, and are richer than Croesus today.

  • David Eisenberg

    Oy.

    • esquire1072

      what’s a republican?

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