How to Think Like an Economist (If, That Is, You Wish to...)
It Was December 28, 1996, That the Wayback Machine First Crawled My Website

Ten Years Ago on Grasping Reality: July 13-15, 2007

Most worth reading:

  1. Rick Perlstein has a sense not of what is coming with the fallout from the collapse of the housing bubble, but that the immediate effects are bad.

  2. The story of Paul Gigot, Kevin Hassett, and the worst—the absolute worst—the most mendacious, deceptive and unprofessional graph that the Wall Street Journal has ever published. You can find it here: As Ezra Klein wrote:
    Ezra Klein (2007): Is The Wall Street Journal Worth Saving? "Brad DeLong described this as 'Most Dishonest Wall Street Journal Editorial Ever'. I thought that was obvious hyperbole, if for no other reason than the data set encompassing dishonest Wall Street Journal editorials is far, far too large for Brad to have comparatively evaluated in a mere day or two. It'd be like declaring a yawn from moments ago your favorite breath of air ever. It might have felt that way, but that's a hasty choice from a large pool. Brad, however, may be right. One of the ways that mendacious ideologues can lie with statistics is to simply draw and ill-fitting line through the data, pretending it shows something entirely different than it really does..."

All I can say is: every economist who signed that letter supporting Kevin Hassett for CEA Chair has a lot of explaining to do, and should be searching their soul very hard right now trying to figure out how they went astray...

Worth Hoisting:

  • Most Dishonest Wall Street Journal Editorial Ever Yes, it's the Wall Street Journal editorial page reporting more American Enterprise Institute-quality research from Kevin Hassett. This is the most mendacious ever...

  • Stupidest Man Alive Emeritus [Donald Luskin] Strikes AGAIN!! A correspondent writes that there is one and only one person who supports and endorses the Wall Street Journal's latest Laffer curve...

  • Caccianli i Ciel per Non Esser Men Belli,/ N lo Profondo Inferno Li Riceve... "Megan [McArdle]... trying to take a middle position.... three misrepresentations.... (1) The WSJ line is not "draw[n] through noisy data." It is drawn above noisy data. (2) To say that the WSJ line is "not... the obvious" one to draw implies that there might be some non-obvious reason to draw it. There isn't. (3) The claim that the WSJ line is "not the only... one to draw" is a statement that it is one of the lines that one might draw with some justification. It isn't. All I can say is: "Questo misero modo/ tegnon l'anime triste di coloro/ che visser sanza 'nfamia e sanza lodo./ Mischiate sono a quel cattivo coro/ de li angeli che non furon ribelli/ né fur fedeli a Dio, ma per sé fuoro./ Caccianli i ciel per non esser men belli,/ né lo profondo inferno li riceve..."

  • Ten Links for 2007-07-14 including: Rick Perlstein: The Foreclosing of America (Part 3): Chainsaw Jim "Shaker Heights. How the very name once made your heart sing with joy-you, a hard-scrabble kid from Cleveland, who managed to work your way through college and a master's degree in computer science, even if the accomplishment left you with twenty thousand dollars in debt. You remember, that fall day in 2004 - Election Day! - as the happiest in your life. That day, you turned the key to your very own home: Shaker Heights. Now: not so much. Now, in March of 2007, the very phrase name makes you shudder. On your block there are two abandoned houses-two owners whose loans had been foreclosed-and city workers have been busy mowing the overgrown weeds, boarding up broken windows, and installing alarms against squatters, lest your block start looking like some Third World slum, and the price of you and your neighbors' homes plummet further..." Rick Perlstein got it.

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