Oops, about your economics paper GOP

Sad news for the GOP, http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/04/16/1875631/new-research-blows-a-hole-in-gops-austerity-agenda/?mobile=wt

First, Reinhart and Rogoff excluded the post-war years for certain countries that enjoyed robust economic growth despite debt levels well over 90 percent. They also chose a skewed method of weighting the data: for example, New Zealand’s single year of terrible growth while over the 90 percent threshold wound up counting just as much as Britain’s 19 years of healthy growth. And they even incorrectly input at least one Excel spreadsheet formula, wrongly excluding several countries form their calculations.
In short, the central argument in support of austerity — cited by MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, the New York Times’ David Brooks, and multiple times by House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) — is now defunct. No one disputes that a country should avoid a big build-up in debt over the long-term. But every concrete signal we’re getting from the American economy — our high unemployment, our low inflation, our extraordinarily low interest rates, and our negative real interest rates — are a signal that more debt spending in the short term to fight the depression is perfectly appropriate. Thanks to the austerity drive that was heavily influenced by Reinhart and Rogoff’s study, American lawmakers ignored those signals (and plenty of others) and cut spending, delivering the most destructive fiscal policy we’ve had in any recession since at least 1980.

Why do we take these people seriously again?

  1. #1 by brewski on April 16, 2013 - 8:06 pm


    So one academic paper disagrees with another academic paper. Gee that is so rare. I mean, it’s not like there are any academic papers which challenge the results of other academic papers on global warming, why dinosaurs died, when did man come to the Americas, from where did man come to America, does the State ownership of the means of production actually work, what is the revenue maximizing tax rate……etc.

    On that last one, Obama’s own economic adviser says it is 33%.

    Oooops. Guess the entire premise of the uneducated left is flat out factually wrong.


    I win by quoting
    Christina D. Romer is the Class of 1957 Garff B. Wilson Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley and a former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration

    What a fucking moron you are not to mention a total tool who has no clue about how ignorant and uneducated he is.

  2. #2 by cav on April 16, 2013 - 10:28 pm

    Paul Ryan will forever cite them (R & R) and pretend they were never debunked. Count on it.

  3. #3 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Both papers, including the UMass one, show that higher debt countries grow more slowly. So much for debunking.

  4. #4 by Shane on April 17, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Oops, so brewski still can’t read. There is a minor difference between two papers disagreeing and one of the most sited by the rightwing papers not even being able to properly setup excel formulas…..

    What kindergarten was your degree from again? Did they start teaching the big words before you left?

  5. #5 by cav on April 17, 2013 - 8:36 am

    America needs a new war or capitalism dies


    Is this a great country, or what?

    USA! USA! USA!

  6. #6 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 9:40 am

    I assume you mean “cited” and not “sited.”

    What an idiot you are and go out of your way to prove.

    I got my degrees from the kindergartens where professors know how to cite even small words with only four letters.

    cite (st)
    tr.v. cit·ed, cit·ing, cites
    1. To quote as an authority or example.
    2. To mention or bring forward as support, illustration, or proof:

    You must feel pretty embarrassed now. I’d hate to be you.

    • #7 by Shane Smith on April 17, 2013 - 1:58 pm

      brewski, i know this is news to you, but first of all, I am not worried about a simple selling mistake, mostly because I have already accepted the fact that not only am I terrible speller, but that I am an even worse typist. (as an example, that last one autocorrected to typesetter, I assume because I cant type for shit.)

      Second, many of us type replies in a hurry on our smartphones as we are on our way out the door to work, because we actually do things in the real world rather than living imaginary lives from moms basement, bitching about how brilliant we are while the rest of the world is so clearly inferior.

      Lastly, yes, you would hate to be me. But that is because you are such a very small person, worried about such very small things, that you would be frustrated with my total disregard for such matters.

      …none of which changes the fact that you failed to read the article, or you would know this is more than a tiny disagreement between two academic papers.

      …as SITED on this CITE. Let your OCD cry about that for a bit.

      There Their They’re, it will all be fine in the long run…

  7. #8 by Richard Warnick on April 17, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Jared Bernstein made a graph showing the corrected data.

    • #9 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 2:24 pm

      So basically, the conclusion is the same, just not as much. And this is supposed to “debunk” the point?

      By way of analogy, if two papers both agreed that global warming was caused by man, but one paper said more and one paper said yes, but not so much, then would that mean that the first had been debunked?

      Guess not.

      So much for intellectualism of the left.


      • #10 by Shane on April 18, 2013 - 8:03 am

        Yep, negative growth verses 2.2% growth. Basically the same thing. I mean that is hardly any difference at all. Like the difference between -.1 degree temperature increase a year and 2.2 degrees increase a year. Not even worth mentioning…

        • #11 by brewski on April 18, 2013 - 8:08 am

          The conclusion is the same. A downward slope is a downward slope. It is either steep or not so steep. But it is still a downward slope. Conclusion is the same. The conclusion is not debunked.

          • #12 by cav on April 18, 2013 - 9:12 am

            Is it a slope, or a slippery slope? That is the question!

            Perhaps, it’ll become a slippery yet, or…

            End of story? That should be accompanied by a fireworks display, as is the American way. IOW: How naive.

          • #13 by Richard Warnick on April 18, 2013 - 11:23 am

            The conclusion was hyped all over the place as “OMG we’re doomed to go over the cliff.” Turns out it was a gentle slope.

          • #14 by Shane Smith on April 18, 2013 - 1:26 pm

            So the difference between growth and contraction eludes you? Good to know. Explains much of the trouble we humans have communicating with you…

          • #15 by brewski on April 18, 2013 - 1:31 pm

            Tell me you understand what slope means.

          • #16 by cav on April 18, 2013 - 1:34 pm

            Perhaps a ‘Buzz-off Chump” would be appropriate at this juncture?!

  8. #18 by cav on April 17, 2013 - 2:35 pm

    So much for the intellectualism of the tea-hoser!

  9. #19 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 2:52 pm

    Both charts and both sets of numbers have far bigger issues with respect to policy than have been mentioned on this sight. (I couldn’t resist). So my observation about intellectualism of the left stands.

    • #20 by Richard Warnick on April 17, 2013 - 3:55 pm

      The policy problem is that Reagan added $1.9 trillion to the National Debt, George H.W. Bush added $1.5 trillion, and George W. Bush added $6.1 trillion – mostly due to tax cuts for the rich and corporations, and foreign wars they put on the national credit card.

      Now Republicans have the nerve to complain about the debt limit. Shameless.

      • #21 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 6:40 pm

        Obama voted against the debt ceiling increase. End of story.

        • #22 by Richard Warnick on April 17, 2013 - 7:53 pm

          Of course, it’s always stupid to vote against paying the national credit card bills. Sometimes politicians vote stupidly when they are certain it won’t affect the outcome. But you knew that.

          What you don’t know is that deficit spending for tax cuts and wars is not the same as deficit spending for economic recovery after Wall Street and the Republicans screwed us.

          • #23 by brewski on April 17, 2013 - 8:21 pm

            Obama is stupid? But he went to Harvard. You must be a racist.

  10. #24 by Richard Warnick on April 17, 2013 - 9:09 pm

    Sometimes Washington politicians see policy-stupid as politically-oh-so-clever. Witness today’s Senate filibuster of a fake firearm background check bill that would have done almost nothing if it became law! Do I really have to explain this stuff to you? It’s called Kabuki.

  11. #26 by cav on April 18, 2013 - 1:15 pm

    R&R had it demonstrably backwards.

    In other words, the causation here seems about as clear as causal analysis can ever be: low growth causes high debt, rather than high debt causing low growth. Indeed, once you get past 90% of GDP, your debt load doesn’t seem to have any significant effect on future growth at all!


  12. #27 by brewski on April 18, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Congratulations. That is the first intelligent comment on this topic.

    This reminds me of the horse-shit economic analysis which gave us the Fisher Curve. Fisher used a very limited set of data and came up with the observation that in some places in some times economic growth has been associated with a rise in prices. Then the dickwads running the Fed then came up with the assbackwards conclusion that if we create inflation then we could encourage growth. Of course, this was just plain wrong. If one looked at all places and all times in fact inflation often accompanies no growth and stable prices can be present during strong economic growth. It took 30 years to figure out Fisher was wrong and the Fed was wrong. So these associative analyses in economics are sketchy at best. Having said that, it is indisputable that too much debt can kill a country. So the question remains is, what is too much debt? I don’t really want to find out, but places like Greece, Argentina, Poland and Russia did find out.

  13. #28 by cav on April 18, 2013 - 1:41 pm

    But when the monitary ‘debt’ is owed to ourselves, the only thing we really have to answer to is the environment.

    Here, we’re talking REAL debt.

    And, we’re finding out – but with denial, exceptionalism, and basically having our collective head jammed up senatorial asses, it may take a while for the reality to crack.

  14. #29 by Shane Smith on April 19, 2013 - 8:17 am

    That we are concerned with imaginary money while creating real debt in available resources all the while mostly ignoring the one truly renewable power source is pretty amazing.

  15. #31 by Shane on April 19, 2013 - 10:44 am

    Paul, whom we can ignore, because an anonymous Internet coward is way smarter than he is, explains the issue rather well. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/opinion/krugman-the-excel-depression.html?_r=0

  16. #32 by Richard Warnick on April 19, 2013 - 2:37 pm

    What the Reinhart-Rogoff affair shows is the extent to which austerity has been sold on false pretenses. For three years, the turn to austerity has been presented not as a choice but as a necessity. Economic research, austerity advocates insisted, showed that terrible things happen once debt exceeds 90 percent of G.D.P. But “economic research” showed no such thing; a couple of economists made that assertion, while many others disagreed. Policy makers abandoned the unemployed and turned to austerity because they wanted to, not because they had to.

    Oh well, Reinhart and Rogoff could always publish their future research in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

  17. #33 by brewski on April 19, 2013 - 3:28 pm

    What austerity? I don’t see any austerity.

  18. #34 by cav on April 19, 2013 - 5:01 pm

    Your furlough will begin in 5…4…3…

    • #35 by brewski on April 20, 2013 - 2:15 pm

      Each year the budget goes up. Fake furloughs and other PR gimmicks does not austerity make. The budget still goes up.

      • #36 by cav on April 20, 2013 - 3:15 pm

        Is it going up, but just not as much as they had earlier budgeted for – and therefore still fitting nicely under the guise of cutting budgets?

        And how can all of these agreed upon cuts have anything but contractionary effects? It may not have been a fiscal cliff, but in fact furloughs and such are occurring (unfortunately not where they are needed most – like in the pay packages of the house and senate members).

        Still, they want more.

  19. #37 by cav on April 19, 2013 - 5:43 pm

    Has Bob S checked in since the big explosion in West, Texas?

    I hope he and his are safe.

  20. #38 by cav on April 20, 2013 - 11:18 am

    On c-span2 just now, Ed Feulner, president of the Heritage Foundation, from an April 2 book fluff:

    “One of the things that we talked about, and that Jim Demint has been talking about, with our internal staff, is THE CREDIBILITY OF THE RESEARCH HAS TO BE ABSOLUTE. THERE CAN’T BE BAD NUMBERS, OR NUMBERS CAN’T BE ADJUSTED OR FIXED OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT, because the minute you do that, you know your intellectual adversaries will catch you out, and you know that your friends will never be able to rely on you again.”


    Note that the problem isn’t that the paper is dishonest. The problem is that you’ll be caught.

  21. #39 by Richard Warnick on April 20, 2013 - 4:33 pm


    You have to look at per capita government spending. See the austerity now?

    • #40 by brewski on April 21, 2013 - 8:03 pm

      The chart is deliberately misleading in at least a few ways. Read the footnotes. Tell me when you figure out how it is intentionally dishonest.

  22. #41 by cav on April 20, 2013 - 8:02 pm

    From the comments:

    An early mistake during the recession, Mr. Levin said, was not targeting more stimulus funds to job creation. He contrasted America’s meager pace of growth in gross domestic product in the past few years with China’s often double-digit pace, noting that after the crisis hit, Washington allocated roughly 2% of GDP to job creation while Beijing directed 15% of GDP to that goal. Some of the popular dissatisfaction with the way the financial crisis has been handled — as well as unhappiness over unemployment and the distribution of income in the U.S., Mr. Levin said, can be seen in protests such as Occupy Wall Street and similar demonstrations in cities and towns across the country….

    • #42 by brewski on April 21, 2013 - 8:05 pm

      There wasn’t ANY stimulus targeted to job creation. The ARRA bill does nothing that Keynes would support. The bill was kabuki theatre.

  23. #43 by cav on April 21, 2013 - 7:27 am

    Jebus, Reinhart-Rogoff are Pete Peterson employees. Forget the Koch Brothers, this guy is doing more harm to the country than than the Boston Bombers. And he’s been at it for decades, and is holding billions upon billions of dollars earmarked for his twisted pursuits.

    It will come as no surprise that Reinhart and Rogoff have ties to Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson, a big fan of their work. Peterson has been advocating cuts to Social Security and Medicare for decades in order to prevent a debt crisis he warns will spike interest rates and collapse the economy. (Peterson failed to warn of the actual crisis building on Wall Street during his time at the Blackstone Group).


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