Thursday, February 18, 2016

The Problem with Predictions

Here's one from economist, Paul Krugman, from February 4, 2008:

"If you combine the economic analysis with these political realities, here’s what I think it says: If Mrs. Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, there is some chance — nobody knows how big — that we’ll get universal health care in the next administration. If Mr. Obama gets the nomination, it just won’t happen."

Fast-forward to now.  Obama is turning blue in Clinton's bear hug.  Krugman is devoting every column again to supporting Clinton's primary campaign, this time against Sanders.  His latest piece reports on some other economists who have dissected some economic theorizing by a Sanders supporter which they allege is wrong.  Krugman adds his own bits including his frequent assertion that voting for Sanders in the primaries will give us a President Trump.

So, the pattern is to set up some theoretical scenario based on some rather obscure campaign issue and then to manipulate that scenario to show how the target candidate is leading us to a disastrous future.  Of course, reality is always a lot messier and almost never takes the form of the invented scenario from the early campaigns.  Krugman is a smart guy, and I'm sure he knows that.  It's disappointing to see him taking the same destructive and dishonest course as he did eight years ago.

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