A headline-writing primer for the WSJ’s op-ed editor

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A couple weeks ago, John F. Cogan, John B. Taylor and the middle-initial-challenged Volker Wieland had an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal headlined “The Stimulus Didn’t Work.” I was pretty nonplussed when I read it, but it was just now, while reading over the critiques of it by Brad DeLong/Mark Sadowski and Goldman Sachs economist Ed McKelvey (not available online), that I finally realized that I would have been fine with the Cogan-Taylor-Wieland piece if it just had a more accurate headline. Here’s my suggestion:

Our Macro Model Says the Stimulus Won’t Have Much Positive Impact, Robert Barro’s Model Says It Will Have a Negative Impact, and the Obama Administration’s Model Says It Will Have a Big Positive Impact. While There’s Not Even Remotely Enough Information Available Yet to Tell Who’s Right, We’ve Taken a Couple of Isolated Data Points Out of Context and Spun Them to Support Our Case

I know, I know, that’s a little long. So how about just:

Stimulus? Or Cumulus?