The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Is Salon Saying That Rep. Paul Ryan Is A Time Traveller?

Posted on | November 22, 2014 | 46 Comments

by Smitty

There is so much buildup on Elias Isquith’s chin that he’s kind of incoherent (emphasis mine):

While there are no doubt many changes ideologues like Ryan would like to see the CBO make, reports indicate that the main reason GOPers want to install a right-wing hack as its chief is in order to make the agency integrate “dynamic scoring” more fully into its estimations. “Dynamic scoring,” for those who don’t know, is a phrase conservatives like to use to give a tenet of their anti-tax religion — lower taxes lead to more revenue! — an intellectual gloss. More importantly, dynamic scoring is generally the special sauce right-wing “wonks” put into their projections in order to claim that massively cutting taxes on the rich won’t lead to fiscal ruin. Remember the absurd claim that Bush’s tax cuts wouldn’t explode deficits? Thank dynamic scoring for that.

So this proposed idea of Ryan’s (the only guy I’ve ever heard of even trying to propose a way to balance the budget) appears to have gone back in time and exploded deficits. Such is the power of cheeseheads! Or maybe Isquith could have explained it all better. But wait:

Yes, this is where “Grubergate,” the most recent of the GOP’s seemingly endless supply of manufactured outrages, comes in. If you’re not familiar with this tempest in a teapot, I recommend you catch up by reading my colleague Joan Walsh. But for our purposes here, all you need to know is that Republicans have been devoting a ton of energy toward making MIT’s Jonathan Gruber’s admission, that the White House designed Obamacare with the likely political ramifications of the CBO score in mind, equivalent to the 18-minute gap in the Nixon tapes.

Did you get that, everyone? Grüberdammerung is like an 18 minute tape gap, or something.

You, Elias Isquith, deserve some award for useful idiocy.


46 Responses to “Is Salon Saying That Rep. Paul Ryan Is A Time Traveller?”

  1. Fail Burton
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 12:16 pm

    Every time someone mentions Joan Walsh’s name a new crack in the Earth opens up leading straight to the nether regions.

  2. kilo6
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 12:37 pm

    salon (n)

    1690s, “large room or apartment in a palace or great house,” from French salon “reception room” (17c.), from Italian salone “large hall,” from sala “hall,”

    salon (v) (21c) “something which allures or entices, an attraction” (a figurative use), a technique employed in the early days of electronic journalism to attract readers (and thus revenue) via posting illogical, inflammatory, fallacious an/or misleading statements. See also: self parody

  3. Fail Burton
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 1:14 pm

    salon (insult)

    A skewed and rotting architectural lean-to at the bottom of a cliff full of dark caves.

  4. joethefatman
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

    It might be that a certain attack and subsequent WoT in Afghanistan and Iraq, along with the “compassionate conservatism” of medicare part B might be the real cause of that deficit bomb, not the tax cuts. But what do I know, after all I’m just a stupid voter.

  5. Matt_SE
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 1:56 pm

    Dynamic scoring is the opposite of the static scoring that was just proven to have been gamed by Gruber. In fact, it was known LONG before Gruber that CBO estimates were often wrong because of this. And it makes perfect, common-sense why: incentives change behavior.
    Really, one would have to be delusional (or a lying, partisan hack) to believe otherwise.

  6. Matt_SE
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 1:57 pm

    And this moron is using her as a character reference!

  7. richard mcenroe
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 2:31 pm

    What are the odds on Elias Isquith being found in bed with Rose Eveleth? And what modern American paper could run the headline without typos?

  8. Art Deco
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 3:31 pm

    He has no Linkedin profile (his father does) and his capsule biographies say little about him other than he writes for living. I collided with him when he was participating at a group blog while on the staff of the Vera Institute. I guess I assumed he had some sort of background that would make him employable in a policy shop, but IIRC I found out later he was working on the pr staff. My exchanges with him were unpleasant; he’s quite capable to being stupefyingly pretentious.

    So, the long and the short of it is he’s a half educated word-merchant whose modus operandi includes striking attitudes with people twice his age.

  9. Adobe_Walls
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 3:33 pm
    From a comment six day’s ago.

    ”The congress has the authority to change the head of the CBO. [In fact the CBO head can be removed by a resolution of either chamber.] Congress also has the authority to change how the CBO scores bills. They can eliminate the Keynesian non-sense from the models and instruct CBO to use dynamic scoring.”

    ”Furthermore the Republican congress can take the opportunity that Gingrich didn’t and change the budget rules, for instance substituting zero baseline budgeting for the current 7% baseline method. Among other things this would end the fantasy that increasing spending by less than 7% is a budget cut.”

    No doubt, shortly after adoption, ”dynamic scoring” will be just as easily gamed as any other scoring method. After all isn’t all economic prognostication the same as ”reading” the bones thrown from a leather cup onto a hide blanket?

  10. Art Deco
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 3:35 pm

    There’s defensible methodology and there’s smoke screens. The problem is not scoring but a misunderstanding of the utility of projections, and, at times, a deficit of integrity.

  11. Adobe_Walls
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 3:59 pm

    I submit the problem is scoring, as all the methods used are merely pretense of knowledge. The idea that something as massive, something with so many contradictory even mutually exclusive goals as the ACA, could be scored with anything less than a 100% margin of error epitomizes fatal conceit.

    There are similar errors confounding tax policy. Starting with the fact that tax legislation isn’t about tax policy. Tax legislation is about economic and social engineering not finding the appropriate level of revenue needed to perform the legitimate functions of government. When all the words defining the ends are lies, all the words about the means must be also.

  12. Julie Pascal
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 6:15 pm

    Referring to Paul Ryan as an ideologue or in any other way as a fringe radical is why I advise Republicans to stop trying, forever, to run anyone “moderate”. Any moderate, no matter how reasonable, if they are seen as a threat, and anyone who can win WILL be seen as a threat, will be described as an ideologue and fringe radical, terrifyingly unstable and dangerous. This has no recourse to reality and shouldn’t be treated as such.

  13. theoldsargesays
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 7:00 pm

    Apparently we all are so…

    We shouldn’t have an opinion or comment on things that we as voters are too stupid to comprehend.

    But we should listen to and heed the dictates of the politicians we were stupid enough to elect and the so-called experts that those stupid politicians and other bureaucrats chose to consult with.

    Just call me at chow time.

  14. Finrod Felagund
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 7:12 pm

    Have you ever looked into the FairTax? Part of what it does is sweep all that economic and social engineering crap right out of the tax code.

  15. Adobe_Walls
    November 22nd, 2014 @ 7:27 pm

    Which is why it’ll never get passed by congress let alone signed by a president.

  16. Steve Skubinna
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:45 am

    I wonder how it is that the progressives can cheerfully admit that deceit is the only way to advance their polcies without suffering disabling cognitive dissonance? How do you justify to yourself the need to advance your cause with lies and chicanery?
    I mean, other than a total lack of integrity? That can’t be it, because we know they’re good people – they keep teling us so.
    Surely that’s the one thing they wouldn’t lie about.

  17. Adjoran
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 4:18 am

    Smitty reads Salon. Ew.

    But ‘dynamic scoring’ does NOT mean ‘tax cuts = increased revenue’ at all. It CAN mean that, or less. Dynamic scoring merely means the behavioral changes likely under a tax change should be taken to account.

    Under the current CBO guidelines, tripling the tax rate on the rich is scored as a tripling of revenue, but that NEVER happens. Triple the tax rate, people transfer money to tax-favored or -free investments, don’t make the effort to earn extra money, or avoid taxes in other ways. So the ‘static’ method is ALWAYS inaccurate. The alternative isn’t perfect, but it is closer to reality.

  18. Adjoran
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 4:19 am

    PLEASE, I beg you, never speak of Joan Walsh and ‘nether regions’ in the same sentence. It is just too horrible to contemplate.

  19. Adjoran
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 4:23 am

    CBO estimates are ALWAYS wrong, no matter what method they use. They are government economists, even in the best circumstances they aren’t the cream of the crop.

    A Democrat on the old (pre-2000) NewsMax boards challenged this, and linked to CBO estimates that showed them 100% accurate. BUT that’s because they update their projections quarterly to match actual experience. What you see as the final projection for a fiscal year is always right on, because they changed it all along.

  20. Adjoran
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 4:24 am

    Lithperth Daily Newth?

  21. Steve Skubinna
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 6:45 am

    Smitty’s willing to do the jobs Americans won’t do.

  22. Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinup » Pirate's Cove
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 9:37 am

    […] The Other McCain wonders if Salon thinks Paul Ryan is a time traveler. […]

  23. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:16 pm

    If CBO states that they have “updated” their stats that’s one thing. If not, then they are simply being dishonest.

    I expect dishonesty out of FedGov. The Bureau of Labor Statistics routinely lies and they’ve been caught out manipulating unemployment numbers, and it has been going on for years, no matter which party was in power.

  24. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:18 pm

    A flat tax would do the same. It would be rejected for the same reasons Adobe states below.

  25. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:20 pm

    It’s communist morality. Muslims have the same mentality in Taqqiya. “By Any Means Necessary” is the most accurate description of the phenomenon.

  26. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:29 pm

    Dynamic scoring would be much like trip generation predictions in Traffic Engineering. I have as yet to see any of the predictions come out as what we would call accurate, but as a means of estimation so planners can allow for changes to highways and streets that will be needed as a result of some development, it is valuable.

    Engineers, however, are forced to deal with reality. Economists do whatever they like and still get fawning admirers. A good example is Krugman, who is uniformly wrong. The latest is Gruber, but his sins are catching up with him.

  27. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 1:30 pm

    So, you’re saying Smitty is not American? 🙂

  28. Art Deco
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:39 pm

    I submit the problem is scoring, as all the methods used are merely pretense of knowledge.

    I think your problem is a surfeit of conceit.

  29. Adobe_Walls
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:45 pm

    Wow…like now I’m crushed.

  30. Art Deco
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:46 pm

    A good example is Krugman, who is uniformly wrong.

    Again, Krugman’s professional accolades came from work in trade theory decades ago, not from any topical commentary he undertook. He never did any sort of empirical studies or projections. (I would tend to doubt economic geographers bothered much about his excursions into that subject, but we can look up the reviews).

    You’ll also notice that his mode of expression is wildly different than just about any economist who writes for general audiences other than Bradford deLong. Most of them (e.g. S.H. Hanke) just seem vaguely amused if they remark on it at all. He was admonished publicly about a dozen years ago by another academic economist that the skill set of the economist does not include being able to reliably gauge the motives of politicians you’ve never met; the former ombudsman of the New York Times has said it was like pulling teeth to ever get a correction out of him, a disposition which truncates your ability to learn much new.

  31. Art Deco
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:47 pm

    It’s dismaying that there are economists willing to excuse Gruber (e.g. Tyler Cowan). I do not think it improves his stock professionally, however.

  32. Art Deco
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:48 pm

    The Bureau of Labor Statistics routinely lies and they’ve been caught out manipulating unemployment numbers,

    By whom?

  33. Quartermaster
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 2:55 pm

    I saw it in several articles this past summer, but I can’t recall where now.

  34. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 4:53 pm

    Even when hoking up a stupid charge against a Republican they can’t get it right.

    Ryan is too much of a crony capitalist for anyone on the right or left to confuse him with “idealogues.” He’s a numbers guy, and he’s completely calculated the side on which his bread is buttered.

    The good news is that we get a neologism and a great twist on an old trope, all in one post (and the link to Ace)

    Grüberdammerung – well played

    “Obama is the shit-fingered Midas.” – Ace (LOL)

    The lovely thing would be to see someone mock up a vid of the Groobster shouting the same words he actually used, in a strident, overdone German accent.

    “Ze Schtupiditty uff der Amerikaners” *pounds podium*

    A day in the life of Obergruppenführer Grüber

  35. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 5:00 pm

    Smitty reads Salon. Ew.

    When you run through the jungle, you occasionally step in poo. The guys with clean shoes ain’t the ones doin’ all the work.

  36. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 5:04 pm

    The favorite news “organ” of Mad Scientist Assistants International

    “Yeth Marthter”

  37. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 5:07 pm

    I don’t think it’s the Bureau that does the lying. I think it’s the Dept. of Labor, in general, doing that.

    It’s kind of cool to use the BLS database. That’s one of the few websites run by the government that actually works.

  38. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

    salon (n.) (22)

    The collective term for a group of idiots. Esp. those who are the totally opposite of being a “solon.”

    “The Sergeant at Arms will please escort that salon out of the balcony.”

  39. Art Deco
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 8:09 pm

    BEA online data is available. Census Bureau data is available.

  40. K-Bob
    November 23rd, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

    Do they work like the FRED site?

  41. Adjoran
    November 24th, 2014 @ 12:30 am

    CBO isn’t making predictions like Jeanne Dixon, they are giving Congress projections on revenues and expenses. So they update the numbers to reflect actual experience each quarter. It only helps Congress to know how things are turning out, not how they were projected to turn out five years ago. But that also means the CBO numbers don’t stay up to compare their projections with reality directly, unless outside observers save the original reports (like in news stories).

  42. Quartermaster
    November 24th, 2014 @ 5:58 am

    And that’s a problem because most people will have a hard time checking them and CBO learns little as well.

  43. Finrod Felagund
    November 24th, 2014 @ 12:05 pm

    I wouldn’t say never, just that it would be a heck of an endeavour to get it through Congress and the President. But then again, so are many things worth doing.

  44. gekkobear
    November 25th, 2014 @ 3:24 am

    Dynamic scoring:
    The lunatic proposal that 100% taxes won’t get 10 times the income as 10% taxes.

    What? People will work just as hard for free, right?

    I mean the static scoring proves it… and anything else must be wrong.

  45. Adjoran
    November 25th, 2014 @ 3:27 am

    It had me fooled for awhile. But there was a notation on another set of CBO projections – not the one being discussed at the time – about the figures being updated for accuracy. They are much like weather forecasting in that it gets more accurate the shorter time ahead being predicted, but are dead-on for yesterday.

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