Our brightest economists are lapsing into self-parody. Today, not one letter, but two - in the pages of the Financial Times - opposing the economists' letter recently written to the Sunday Times.
It would be funny. Let's face it, it is funny: once again, economists playing up the stereotype that they can never agree. Except, they do agree.
On this most important economic challenge facing the UK in the next five years, the people who signed these letters more or less agree. So do Britain's major political parties.
In the lead-up to a general election, we expect politicians to exaggerate the differences between themselves for rhetorical effect. But economists are supposed to be different.
By following a script largely written by politicians and headline-writers, the writers of these letters are in danger of writing themselves out of a job.
Here are the facts. This year and next, Britain will have a deficit in the region of 14% of GDP - a peacetime record. By March 2011 - its net debt will probably have risen to around 65% of GDP.
On the broader ("Maastricht") definition of gross debt used for comparing EU countries, our debt will be about 82%.
Those figures are rising fast: in 2008-9, net debt was 44%, and gross debt was just over 55%. But that 82% gross debt ratio in 2010/11 compares with an average forecast across the EU of 85%.
With debt this high, we're losing what economists would call fiscal "headroom", the space to respond to further bumps along the road. We've also moved from having below-average debt, to the average, with every chance of moving in the above-average group. But - as I argued last week - we're not Greek Britain yet.
Looking at our fiscal position, here's where - nearly - everybody seems to agree:
First, we don't have room for further discretionary stimulus this year.
If you were coming to the debate for the first time you might find this surprising. After all, according to the IMF, the average G20 country is implementing additional stimulus worth about 1.6% of GDP in 2010/11.
In that group, only Argentina has yet to announce any further measures for this year. But with that towering deficit figure, even the likes of Lord Skidelsky (who wrote the more aggressive letter to the FT today) does not seem to believe we can afford another boost.
Second, they seem to agree that it is appropriate to start tightening policy in 2010-11 - as the government is doing. If you earn more than £100,000, your taxes are going up in April. VAT has already gone back up to 17.5%.
According to the IFS, the tax rises and other measures announced by the government since the 2009 pre-Budget report will have the effect of tightening policy by 1.6% of GDP.
Net borrowing will fall by much less than that - by 0.6% of GDP, on the government's forecast. But that is because the state of the economy will continue to push up cyclical borrowing in 2010/11.
Third, all the letter-writers agree that there needs to be "much more detail" on the plan to cut the deficit after 2011-12, and "a radical plan for the medium term".
I take the quote from the first letter to the FT this morning - but there was similar language in the letter to the Sunday Times.
Where is the disagreement? Between the parties, the disagreement amounts to around 1% of GDP: additional spending cuts or tax rises adding up to around £15bn by 2015-16.
This is the difference between the Chancellor's current deficit reduction plan and the presumed Conservatives' target of eliminating the structural current budget deficit.
Between the economists, the disagreement about the medium-term may be larger. But that is not the area they have chosen to focus on in today's letters.
Their focus, rather, is on the risks of a "sharp shock" in fiscal policy in 2010, beyond the "shock" that is already in train (which is going to be pretty shocking for very high earners).
Is there a risk of a "sharp shock" in policy in 2010? I'm not sure I can see it.
In fact, I cannot think of any serious participant in the UK debate who has openly called for "swingeing cuts" in borrowing in 2010/11. It is a straw man.
Even the signatories to the Sunday Times letter suggest that the timing of cuts should be sensitive to the pace of recovery. The Conservatives have (now) said the same thing.
By writing their letters this morning, these economists have played into the hands of Labour ministers, who want everyone to be scared of Conservatives bearing axes. The Tories, for their part, took great pleasure out of the epistle to the Sunday Times.
But, as the director of the IFS Robert Chote has suggested, the kind of additional cuts that the Conservatives have discussed for 2010-11 - on the order of a few billion pounds - look too small, either to endanger the recovery or wow the financial markets.
If the economy grows even slower than anticipated this year, greater cyclical borrowing would more than offset that additional 'prudence'.
Of course, George Osborne will want to be bolder, if he wins Number 11. But if growth continues to be fragile, I see very little sign that an incoming Conservative government would want to take the blame for ruining the recovery.
I asked one of today's letter-writers whether they felt the debate would be enhanced by exaggerating the differences of opinion that exist on this crucial issue of public concern. His reply, in so many words, was "they started it". I rest my case.