100% Wrong on 90%

10 May, 2013 at 16:42 | Posted in Economics | 1 Comment


(h/t Simsalablunder)

1 Comment

  1. “Pete Peterson Linked Economists Caught in Austerity Error-PR Watch-
    Center for Media and Democracy´s”
    by Mary Bottari — April 18, 2013
    “A team of economists at the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at UMass Amherst broke a huge story this week that was promptly picked up by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, and newspapers around the globe. The economists proved that the essential underpinning “of the intellectual edifice of austerity economics,” as Paul Krugman put it, is based on sloppy methodology and spreadsheet coding errors.

    Pete Peterson’s Fingerprints

    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.)
    When Washington Post writer Suzy Khimm pointed out to Peterson that the U.S. built significant deficits during the financial crisis but maintained very low interest rates, Peterson responded that America still needed to be on high alert: “you know [Kenneth] Rogoff and [Carmen] Reinhart — I’ve talked to them, and they say [debt crises] are sudden, they’re sharp, they’re very substantial. The risk is simply too big. At some point, if we lurch from crisis to crisis, then confidence will decline on our economy in general.”

    As the Center for Media and Democracy detailed in the online report, “The Peterson Pyramid,” the Blackstone billionaire turned philanthropist has spent half a billion dollars to promote this chorus of calamity. Through the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Peterson has funded practically every think tank and non-profit that works on deficit- and debt-related issues, including his latest astroturf supergroup, “Fix the Debt,” which has set a July 4, 2013 deadline for securing an austerity budget.

    Reinhart, described glowingly by the New York Times as “the most influential female economist in the world,” was a Senior Fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics founded, chaired, and funded by Peterson. Reinhart is listed as participating in many Peterson Institute events, such as their 2012 fiscal summit along with Paul Ryan, Alan Simpson, and Tim Geithner, and numerous other Peterson lectures and events available on YouTube. She is married to economist and author Vincent Reinhart, who does similar work for the American Enterprise Institute, also funded by the Peterson Foundation.

    Kenneth Rogoff is listed on the Advisory Board of the Peterson Institute. The Peterson Institute bankrolled and published a 2011 Rogoff-Reinhart book-length collaboration, “A Decade of Debt,” where the authors apparently used the same flawed data to reach many of the same conclusions and warn ominously of a “debt burden” stretching into 2017 that “will weigh heavily on the public policy agenda of numerous advanced economies and global financial markets for some time to come.” (Note that not everyone associated with the Institute touts the Peterson party line.)

    Bankrupt Analysis

    The authors have issued two rebuttals to the Amherst study. In their latest, they object that anyone would think they were “misconstruing analysis to support austerity” or a political agenda. Perhaps it had to do with pieces like this one entitled “Too Much Debt and the Economy Can’t Grow” that warns against further stimulus at a time when mass unemployment is wreaking devastation on the lives and livelihoods of workers young and old.

    Economists like Herndon, Ash, Pollin, Baker, and Krugman have never bought the argument that economies can cut their way out of a crisis, and now data from the Reinhart-Rogoff study, from numerous European countries, from the IMF, and even from CMD’s home state of Wisconsin (now ranked an astonishing 44th in job creation), support their contentions.

    If only they had half a billion to spread the word.”

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