Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Worst Forecaster Ever?

Jonathan Chait calls out former Bush advisor Michael J. Boskin, who just penned an op-ed in the WSJ predicting Obama will torpedo the economy, after doing the same during the Clinton years:
As it happened, literally every Boskin prediction turned out to be the opposite of reality. The economy grew much faster than predicted, revenues surged by a much greater amount than forecast, and the deficit shrank by a much greater amount than Clinton forecast.
Following the utter repudiation of the Clinton years, Boskin decided to take his talents back to Washington. He had spotted a brilliant new economic mind in Texas governor George W. Bush.
"These people were immensely impressed with him, how quick he was to pick stuff up," Boskin said. "His instincts were all very good, very much market-oriented; that created a very, very favorable impression."
Boskin went to work as a Bush adviser, and thus, unfortunately for the historical record, had to limit his ability to make terrible predictions in public forums. He did return to public punditry to insist that George W. Bush’s tax cuts would reduce revenue by far less than the official forecasts predicted. (“I don't think it's going to cost anywhere near $674 billion.”) This was another natural outgrowth of Boskin’s worldview — just as it was necessarily true that Clinton’s tax hikes on the rich must reduce the work incentive and hamper economic growth, Bush’s tax cuts for the rich must do the opposite. Naturally, tax revenue declined by far more than the forecasts predicted.
Now, in defense of Boskin, he is probably suffering from a large dose of bad luck on top of a horrendously wrong ideology. He is probably not universally and inherently wrong. If you chained a thousand Boskins to a thousand keyboards for a thousand years, eventually one of them would make a correct prediction.
If the man is a worse pundit than Dick Morris, he is doing something tremendously wrong.  Or maybe he's trying to be wrong.  Anyway, the whole thing is worth reading as a guide to totally dismantling a public figure.

No comments:

Post a Comment