Jonathan Chait: Trump’s Use of Nonexpert’s Coronavirus Model Not Going Well https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2020/05/trump-kevin-hassett-dow-36-000-coronavirus-model-deaths.html: ‘President Trump’s habit of promising unrealistically low casualty counts is one of the more inexplicable unforced errors in the administration’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. “One is too many,” he said on April 20, “but we’re going toward 50 or 60,000 people.” Just four days later, the number of confirmed deaths had already exceeded 50,000. A few days after that, he tacked on another 10,000 to the upper and lower bound, saying, “we’re probably heading to 60,000, 70,000.” That figure is already moot. Trump’s normal sales pitch is to juxtapose his results against a horrific alternative.... Why, this time, did he establish a target he couldn’t meet? Indeed, why did he throw out numbers that were obviously going to be exceeded very quickly? A chief culprit in the blunder turns out to be Kevin Hassett, the former chair of the Council of Economic Advisers... Hassett is one of the subtler and more measured adherents of the supply-side creed, but this is a bit like being Santa’s tallest elf. In 1999, he notoriously co-authored Dow 36,000, a book arguing, via his own idiosyncratic calculations, that the stock market’s true value was massively higher than anybody forecast. (More than 20 years later, it remains well below that level.) Hassett is less kooky than Art Laffer, Lawrence Kudlow, or Stephen Moore, but... pinning your hopes to a Kevin Hassett spreadsheet turns out to be a giant error! Who could have guessed?
#economicsgonewrong #noted #orangehairedbaboons #2020-05-04