Nuggets of Wisdom

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Pot Krugman Calls Kettle Black On Failed Predictions

Paul Krugman, the “very serious” NYT columnist who once predicted that the internet would become no more significant than the fax machine, used his most recent column to chastise others who refuse to admit their "failed predictions":

Imagine yourself as a regular commentator on public affairs — maybe a paid pundit, maybe a supposed expert in some area, maybe just an opinionated billionaire. You weigh in on a major policy initiative that’s about to happen, making strong predictions of disaster. The Obama stimulus, you declare, will cause soaring interest rates; the Fed’s bond purchases will “debase the dollar” and cause high inflation; the Affordable Care Act will collapse in a vicious circle of declining enrollment and surging costs.

But nothing you predicted actually comes to pass. What do you do?

You might admit that you were wrong, and try to figure out why. But almost nobody does that; we live in an age of unacknowledged error.

Alternatively, you might insist that sinister forces are covering up the grim reality. Quite a few well-known pundits are, or at some point were, “inflation truthers,” claiming that the government is lying about the pace of price increases. There have also been many prominent Obamacare truthers declaring that the White House is cooking the books, that the policies are worthless, and so on.

Finally, there’s a third option: You can pretend that you didn’t make the predictions you did. I see that a lot when it comes to people who issued dire warnings about interest rates and inflation, and now claim that they did no such thing. Where I’m seeing it most, however, is on the health care front. Obamacare is working better than even its supporters expected — but its enemies say that the good news proves nothing, because nobody predicted anything different....

You see, in a polarized political environment, policy debates always involve more than just the specific issue on the table. They are also clashes of world views. Predictions of debt disaster, a debased dollar, and Obama death spirals reflect the same ideology, and the utter failure of these predictions should inspire major doubts about that ideology.

And there’s also a moral issue involved. Refusing to accept responsibility for past errors is a serious character flaw in one’s private life. It rises to the level of real wrongdoing when policies that affect millions of lives are at stake.
What you just read is the written equivalent of a morbidly obese man (who is so grossly overweight, with rolls of fat hanging from out of his too-small clothing, that he is forced to be confined to an electric scooter) rolling around an all-you-can-eat buffet with an overflowing platter of food, and taking enough time to stop to tell an anorexic skeleton eating nothing but a single pea that she should not overeat.

May I remind you that this is the very same Paul Krugman who, following the wake of the dot-com bubble, made the suggestion that the government remedy the situation by “create a housing bubble to replace the Nasdaq bubble.” Do I have to explain how this guy has been literally wrong about everything? I’ve already written a satirical article in which he admits to being a Poe—which I pray every day that he really is!

I wish I could ignore this economic ignoramus. I wish I could brush him off as a nameless blogger on the internet penning dubious economic advice and tinfoil hat conspiracies for a fringe audience. I really wish I could—but I can’t, because he’s not.

Sadly, he’s a “respected” economist. He writes for the New York Times. His column is read by millions and accepted as gospel truth. He’s an economics professor for both Princeton University and the London School of Economics. He’s written economic textbooks that are read by hundreds of college students across the country. He’s won the Nobel Prize in economics—Sweet Celestia, the Nobel “Freaking” Prize!

While this man is being regularly invited onto talk shows and news programs to pontificate his economic “wisdom”, more sensible individuals with economic sense such as Peter Schiff and Tom Woods are confined to the fringe edges of the internet, only to be read and heard by like-minded individuals. In a sane and just world, the reverse would be true; sadly, we don’t live in that sane, just world. We live in an Idiocracy where an economic quack like Krugman argues that crops should be watered with Brando while laughing off more sensible people as those who want to grow plants from toilets.