This set down

Now, look. I know that not all of you are accountants or economists or mathematicians or engineers. But let’s suppose I said to you that in 2003 the United States GDP was around 11 trillion and that is was expected to grow at an average rate of 4% or less over the next 20 years. You could get out a spreadsheet and come up with a reasonable upper bound of $327 trillion for the total GDP over those 20 years, right? Many of you could probably even do the rough estimate in your head that on average over those 20 years, it couldn’t be more than $20 trillion a year so that the total would be $400 trillion or less.

Suppose someone said to you that:

The (Iraq) war will certainly cost more than the $60b and change that the President is asking for. But it is not going to run us several trillion dollars (though even if it did, that would work out to less than 0.1% of GDP over the next 20 years.)

You’d register that “several trillion” means something like 3-4 trillion or more and say “nope, you mean 1% not 0.1%”, right? And if you yourself had made the 0.1% estimate and someone told you, nope, you’re wrong, it’s 1% and then explained to you in painstaking detail why several trillion is about 1%, not 0.1%, of $327 trillion, you would understand, right?

Because you know how to follow a link and operate a fucking calculator right?

Don’t be afraid to say that no, you couldn’t do any of this, that you can’t follow what it means to divide 4 by 400 and you have no fucking idea why 3-4 trillion is 1%, not 0.1%, of 400 trillion. Because if you can’t perform these simple calculations, then you too can be the Business and Economics Editor of the Atlantic, you too can earn close to 200K a year, and appear on shows like NPR’s Marketplace.

I realize this is my second post on this not-very-important topic. I’ve talked about this enough and I’ll shut up now.

Because the Atlantic comments thing is slow to load and so on, I am attaching a pdf this time. The thread I am describing can be found here.

94 replies
  1. 1
    dmsilev says:

    You are utterly and completely insane. God have mercy on David Bradley’s soul for what he has unleashed on an unsuspecting public.

    Don’t hold back. Tell us what you really think of her.

    Also, has she banned you yet?

    dms

  2. 2
    jwb says:

    Yes, you are right. McMegan can neither do math nor admit that she is wrong. She’s a moron. And now you are seeing why it takes a lunatic to disprove a moronic argument… Not that in this case she actually has an argument.

    On the other hand, I do wonder why you are choosing to take on the role of the lunatic here.

  3. 3
    Malraux says:

    Dude, i could do most of that in my head. So with 4% growth, the rule of 72 tells me that means a doubling every 18 years, so its reasonable to say (since 4% is a bit high) that in 20 years gdp will be ~$22T 22*20~=400. Several trillion would be somewhere in the range of 2 to 8ish I guess. So~.5% to ~8%. Even being conservative .5% is closer from a order of magnitude calculation to 1 than it is to .1.

    PS, your PDF is borked when I clicked on it. (needs a rotation) edit: worked on the second click.

  4. 4
    Nellcote says:

    Have some respect. LaPalin’s making her Treasury Secretary in 2013.

  5. 5
    DougJ says:

    @Malraux:

    Thank you! The rule of 72 is one of my favorite things.

    I fixed my pdf.

    Thank you again, I am this close to losing it.

  6. 6
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @DougJ: Do not go over there. No good can come of it. It can’t even be fun to tease her. Just let it go. You will feel better about yourself.

  7. 7
    jwb says:

    @DougJ: Of course, you’re close to losing it. You’re arguing with a moron! What did you expect? On the other hand, I’m thankful you are willing to risk your sanity for the greater good.

  8. 8
    John Cole says:

    I like how I get dragged into that. She does understand that I’ve stated repeatedly that I was wrong about everything?

    Way to strengthen your case by pulling me into it, McMegan.

  9. 9
    Mike Kay (Democrat of the Century) says:

    Doug,

    the fucking calculator could be a mushroom cloud over new york!

    fucking math is pre-9/11 thinking!

    you’re either with us or with the terrorists and bean counters!

    and of course, the all time show stopper, “Freedom is Free!”

  10. 10
    Turgidson says:

    DougJ, channel your inner banned-from-NYTimes self (“only good thing that could come of a Collins/Bobo chat is a murder suicide”) and get yourself banned from her turf. For your own sake. And ours, to be honest.

    She’s a useless twit. And you won’t change her.

  11. 11
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    You will feel better about yourself.

    I beg to differ. Letting fools go on foolishly without the intervention of facts and logic is OK for street corner bars but not for major publications. If you don’t object you give up and idiocy wins by default.

  12. 12
    DougJ says:

    @Ross Hershberger:

    Yes, that is right. I should be banned pretty soon and then I can walk away without feeling like I surrendered.

  13. 13
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Ross Hershberger: Fighting with her directly is like running into a brick wall though.

    ETA: Maybe DougJ’s solution of getting banned is the way to accomplish both goals.

  14. 14
    David Fud says:

    I’m sort of curious what, exactly, you expect her to do. She consistently makes these errors. The Atlantic hired her and has stuck by her through thin and thinner. She clearly isn’t capable of division, preferring to attempt to run circles around you while throwing “interlocutor” bombs.

    She is inept at math. She is the Business and Economics Editor for the Atlantic. She is the embodiment of the inherent libertarian contradiction of not giving a shit about anyone else while simultaneously arguing incessantly with everyone that she is right.

    She is just doing what has worked so well for her in the past. She has been trained and reinforced in her behavior through rewards much like Pavlov’s dogs. Why would she give it up now? What could possibly motivate her to admit that she doesn’t know what the hell she is doing, and is inadvertently bamboozling everyone with her interlocutions?

  15. 15
    Clambone says:

    I don’t follow the logic that gets her to $200K in salary. There is no way in hell she makes $200,000.

  16. 16
    Ross Hershberger says:

    I was asleep a minute ago, but IIRC, the math is (11 X 10^12) X (1.04^20).

  17. 17
    patrick II says:

    I have taught third graders who would know that 300 divided by 3 is 1. I will grant you that they really haven’t had to deal with all of those confusing decimals yet, but they aren’t the “business and economics editor” for a once prestigious magazine like The Atlantic either.

  18. 18
    NobodySpecial says:

    Not seeing this post. Did she pull it?

  19. 19
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @Ross Hershberger:
    FYWP.

    Well, I tried.

  20. 20
    Malraux says:

    @Malraux: And looking at my answer, to elaborate a bit more we have (total cost of war)/(Total GDP over 20 years) Because of the way total GDP was calculated, 400 trillion is way large. Running the numbers, its 324 (which is still likely large because 4% is probably high).

    Even at the extreme range where several trillion = 2; 2/324, its .6%. If the denominator shrinks or the numerator grows then her case looks even worse. And really that seems much more likely than the reverse.

    So yes, McMegan doesn’t understand math.

  21. 21
    Turgidson says:

    @DougJ:

    She’ll just keep throwing incoherent and irrelevant “facts” and “figures” at you until you crawl under a desk in the fetal position sucking your thumb, unable to comprehend how any one being can be that much of a moron (sorry, MORAN). That’s what she always does when confronted with her own appalling stupidity and ignorance.

    You’ve made it further than most already, though. Bravo!

  22. 22
  23. 23
    Drives By Wisdom says:

    Would that you liberals would obsess so much about the trillions wasted on the things you support. What a regular bunch of fiscally responsible you folks are.

  24. 24
    daveNYC says:

    @Ross Hershberger: I keep saying, she either has blackmail photos, or gives great BJs. There is no possible explanation for why The Atlantic hasn’t dumped her for some other glibertarian.

    They could pretty much replace her with anyone, or even just a potted plant, and it would be an improvement.

  25. 25
    DougJ says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    The link should still work.

  26. 26
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    Fighting with her directly is like running into a brick wall though.

    Well we’ve seen that idiocy does often win, but it should at least have to take a few licks in the process.
    I’m going back to bed.

  27. 27
    Malraux says:

    @Ross Hershberger: Well the number we really care about is 11E12 * sum(1.04^x, x=0, x=19). It ain’t pretty but that’s the real number to care about.

  28. 28
    Seth says:

    If nothing else, couldn’t she work backwards? 3t/.001 = 3000t which is pretty obviously wrong.

    I mean we can stop worrying about the deficit.

  29. 29
    jwb says:

    @NobodySpecial: It’s still loading for me.

  30. 30
    El Cid says:

    You don’t need to know any math to do economics. No mathematician ever gave me no job. All I ever needed to know about economics I learned from some guy I talk to who owns a small business, and he knows plenty.

  31. 31
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @Malraux:

    That’s what I was trying to say, but WP doesn’t parse COBOL arithmetic notation very well.

  32. 32
    Cat Lady says:

    She’s right that eight years is a long time ago though, a calculator from 2003 is just like a clay tablet and a stylus, and division with all those zeros, well, you can’t expect her to labor under such adverse conditions and be glib too.

  33. 33
    WarMunchkin says:

    I hate the rule of 72. Especially the damn wikipedia article that talks about “corrections” to the rule of 72, as if they couldn’t figure out that the reason the rule of 72 came about is because compound interest is exponential, ln 2 = 0.69 and 72 just happens to have a lot of nice factors like 4 and 6 and 8. If you want to “correct” this rule, don’t waste your time, just use the damn formula 2 = e^(rate*time) (or something like that).

  34. 34
  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    Godel’s theorem demonstrates that an arithmetic statement may be true but not provable. So, McAddled is correct.

  36. 36
    Comrade Mary says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Now I’m going to go to bed and dream of a new Angry Birds missile that will resemble DougJ.

  37. 37
    freelancer says:

    I’ve no problem volunteering that I have really shit aptitude for math, but this is ridiculous. Megan gives new meaning to the acronym YMMV aka Your Mileage May Vary. But hey, what do I know? I’ve never walked 528 feet in her shoes.

  38. 38
  39. 39
    Tom Levenson says:

    Ah, DougJ.

    I’ve been mostly on McMegan vacation for a while, as the sense of sheer disbelief (she can’t really have said that, could she?) creates such vertigo that I just needed a break.

    You remind me why I shouldn’t get off the island.

  40. 40
    Lesley says:

    Apparently math is not a requirement for the assignment of douchebag over at the Atlantic.

    You have to admit she has all the qualities of the douchebag part though. And, she prefers Himalayan salt!

  41. 41
    Tom Levenson says:

    @freelancer:

    I’ve never walked 528 feet in her shoes.

    FTW!

  42. 42
    different church-lady says:

    Why do you keep arguing with sociopaths?

  43. 43
    jwb says:

    @TooManyJens: I’m sort of imagining Burns and Allen doing that as a skit.

  44. 44
    Toreador Red says:

    That’s just fuzzy math.

  45. 45
    John Cole says:

    I’m going to maintain an open mind on this issue until our newly annointed ombudsman for libertarian issues at the Agitator gets mad at Roger Ailes and decides to lash out at me.

  46. 46
    different church-lady says:

    @Clambone:

    I don’t follow the logic that gets her to $200K in salary. There is no way in hell she makes $200,000.

    Doug meant $2,000.00. It’s her hypothetical salary.

  47. 47
    nhoj says:

    @Tom Levenson:
    Uh guys, that was just a hypothetical of a mile!

  48. 48
    Karmakin says:

    Why doesn’t she admit she made a numerical error, and as such fix it and then just state that it doesn’t change her underlying argument that much, (I’m guessing), that the Iraqi war is a relatively small part of the total GDP and stuff and as such isn’t as big of a deal as X Y or Z or whatever she’s trying to say.

    Probably she’s too stubborn to do so, to be honest.

  49. 49
    freelancer says:

    @John Cole:

    Obviously you shouldn’t be pointing out that some people are shitty at math. This goes for all of you FPers. That goes double if they wear leather jackets or a fedora sold at Target.

  50. 50
    Dennis SGMM says:

    It must be a libertarian thing. Remember when candidate Rand Paul proposed an underground electric fence (?????) and stated a cost that would amount to less than a buck-and-a-half per running foot? You couldn’t put up dogeared cedar fo rthat kind of money. Senator Paul will probably be appointed to the Finance Committee.

  51. 51
    NobodySpecial says:

    @DougJ: I see it now, just didn’t go down far enough.

    And now you know why I consider economics to be similar to astrology.

  52. 52
    sfinny says:

    OK, as a former math major I could see that her numbers were off, but I just had to spreadsheet it. Maybe the magic spreadsheet would show that we were wrong, and the special Megan function button would give me a .1% figure. So I start up the trusty excel workbook and nope. At 1% I get $3.28 trillion.

  53. 53
    TooManyJens says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    Remember when candidate Rand Paul proposed an underground electric fence (?????)

    Wait, what? Like one of those invisible dog fences? Did he think he was going to make everyone in Mexico wear a collar?

  54. 54
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @TooManyJens:
    Paul never did get around to explaining how the thing was supposed to work. Maybe he got the idea from fences used to control the infamous Burrowing Hereford.

  55. 55
    freelancer says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    It’s a human invented field and as such it is more fallible than any hard science. That said, even dipshit elementary projections are subject to basic finite math. What bugs me about Megan, is that more and more, it looks like the Atlantic has hired, for its Economic editor, someone who is the Economic Analog of a Young Earth Creationist. Her calculations have been shown to be almost that bad in terms of levels of error.

    Since the earth is actually 4.6 billion years old, Dawkins said, the magnitude of error in the young-earth creationist view is equivalent to thinking North America is 8 yards wide. Such a magnitude of false belief would be disabling in practically any other field, Dawkins quipped, noting that a plumber wouldn’t be able to connect his pipes and do his job if his measurements were off by such a factor.

    At what point does the Atlantic realize they’ve hired and continue to subsidize their own Creation Museum-esque Ken Ham? She is a Randian kook, and the very opposite of what it is to be considered as an expert.

  56. 56
    Jewish Steel says:

    @John Cole

    Speaking of which, inquiring minds inquire; whither ED Kain?

  57. 57
    Dennis SGMM says:

    @freelancer: Maybe the part of a libertarian’s that takes care of math is all waffled out from constantly overestimating libertarians’ contributions to society while underestimating the contributions of everyone else.

  58. 58
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @TooManyJens:

    I hate to say it, but the answer prolly is ‘Yes’…

  59. 59
    D-boy says:

    DougJ, man you should lay off the sauce . . . . no on second though keep it up because this is fucking awesome

  60. 60
    something fabulous says:

    OK, DougJ, you want someone to admit it? Here I am. None of this makes the tiniest bit of sense to me. I am about as innumerate as it is possible to be and still walk upright.

    I could not do any of this math, even with a spreadsheet, because spreadsheets scare me. This is really too bad, and a shame, for I do have some good qualities; they’re just unevenly-distributed.

    On the other hand, no one has hired me to be the economics and business editor of any-fucking-thing. Strange, that.

  61. 61
    WarMunchkin says:

    @freelancer: At the same point when other respected people, like, say Ezra Klein, stop engaging with her as if she is serious, authoritative and intelligent.

  62. 62
    Anne Laurie says:

    @TooManyJens: __

    Remember when candidate Rand Paul proposed an underground electric fence (?????)
    __
    Wait, what? Like one of those invisible dog fences? Did he think he was going to make everyone in Mexico wear a collar?

    I’m sure the Invisible Fence(tm) is the only variety permitted in his personal gated community, because the low-tech varieties that actually do what they’re supposed to are unnecessarily random & therefore unsightly (much like the predictable percentage of dogs who “fail” the IF(tm) metrics). Since the High Libertarian universe privileges thought experiments over real-world functionality, the mere fact that “underground electric fences” would not work as a deterrent to border-crossers has nothing to do with its correctness in the gated mental community that is High Libertarianism.

  63. 63
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Jewish Steel: SHUSH!

    When the universe grants you a moment of random peacefulness, accept it gratefully… or at least, keep your mouth shut & don’t spoil it for the rest of us.

  64. 64
    morzer says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    I was wondering that too. I hope the kneejerk insult brigade didn’t run him off.

  65. 65
    IM says:

    Libertarian war on arithmetic II

    – this time it’s personal!

  66. 66
    Anne Laurie says:

    @morzer: Your mother smells of elderberries, and your father was a Hamsher hamster!

  67. 67
    Yutsano says:

    @Anne Laurie: Is it legal to blog war on your own blog?

  68. 68
    p mac says:

    To be fair to McMegan–she is right: that kind of chart is bad statistics. She also agrees that the 11% increase in poverty is a bad thing.

    That said, I agree that she is far more guilty herself, with her penchant for slipping decimal points.

  69. 69
    mclaren says:

    Megan McArdle is a rich airhead who got hired by other rich airheads to spew gibberish and get paid tons of money for it. Welcome to the wonderful world of punditry.

    She’s drop dead gorgeous, though. Damn, I’d bang her until she couldn’t walk. But I’d have to gag her first.

    Why are the good looking ones always empty-headed ninnies?

  70. 70
    Jewish Steel says:

    @morzer: Ubi nunc baculus?

    @Anne Laurie: Peace?This blog is Thunderdome. You are Aunty Entity.

    Wiki, take it away:

    Despite her brutality and Bartertown’s (Balloon Juicetown’s?) chaos, Entity is an intelligent, cultured woman, who holds a hope of one day rebuilding society to its former glory.

    Everyone loves a cage match.

  71. 71
    DLewOnRoids says:

    My calculator doesn’t go into the trillions.

  72. 72
    morzer says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    Eleven minutes to come up with that? Weak sauce, madam, weak sauce!

  73. 73
    morzer says:

    @Jewish Steel:

    I fear I lack the requisite enthusiasm for whacking ageing female versions of Lavrentiy Beria. Feel free to pick up your baculus if you can find some merit in the exercise. Hopefully ED Kain will return to contribute some sort of intellect stimulus to this blog. God knows, it needs something to shake it out of the intellectual torpor into which it has increasingly sunk of late. I generally disagree with him, but at least the man is trying to present an argument and discuss it, rather than just repeating the same weary platitudes and easy outrage. These days BJ is like watching dogs do the same Pavlovian tricks ad nauseam. Certain things are BAD, and must be condemned as BAD – but there’s no coherent argument or discussion as to how one persuades the electorate, other than relying on vast quantities of outrage and moral assertion. What happens when the electorate finds these less than persuasive? Well, apparently we need to lose gallantly and with the requisite rage at the requisite causes. Rinse and repeat. See: Democratic inability to make a case, part 723b.

  74. 74
    Jewish Steel says:

    @morzer:

    Oof! Tough audience.

  75. 75
    Jewish Steel says:

    @morzer:

    …how one persuades the electorate…

    That, I think, is the most germane question going.

    But enough! To bed. I’ll sort it out in the morning.

  76. 76
    JMC_in_the_ATL says:

    @daveNYC: I don’t think they could dump her until they found another woman for their blog marquee.

  77. 77
    Maude says:

    @JMC_in_the_ATL:
    How about Sarah Palin?

  78. 78
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Maude: Not a glibertarian.

  79. 79
    Cermet says:

    John, you can’t win this one – she was within an an order of magitude (the low side) so is close enough to feel that she is right and your argument is just details – ie 0.1 % versus the correct value of 0.6 % (so you were off by less than a factor of two, she was off by a factor of six).

    The reason she is stupid beyond belief is that she (unlike the average Jane/joe) completely misses that compared to the goverment budget (running somewhat over a trillion) that money for the wars is being paid over just the next few years, (ignoring long term med benifits) and is a HUGE percentage of available funds and with all our other needs, a huge hit that will be turned into DEBT!

    Worse, this expense provides no real benifits to our economy (unlike say a NASA program or new bridges, solar, R&D into energy, or even just welfare that cycles the money many times through our economy).

    Her reasoning is so bad (for someone who is supost to get economics) that it is beyond stupid – it is criminal.

  80. 80
    daveNYC says:

    I don’t think they could dump her until they found another woman for their blog marquee.

    That’s what keeps killing me though. She is so off the charts bad that finding a replacement, even a female economics major replacement (it’s a field that’s a tad on the sausage fest side) cannot be that difficult. I’m not saying they have to grab themselves another Yves Smith (though that would be great), just someone who can do basic math, and isn’t a total smegging asshole about things.

    There is a lot of people talented enough to write about economic issues, and The Atlantic just doesn’t care if they have one of them on their staff. Just look at the late, great, Tanta. Home on medical leave, knew the mortgage industry, and started posting in comment threads. Rather quickly was co-blogging with CalculatedRisk, and at the end of everything had written some totally amazing posts that were informative, correct, and actually fun to read. McMegan’s writing pretty much has none of those qualitites, and she’s just writing about general economics.

  81. 81
    RSA says:

    In addition to the arithmetic error, McMegan’s post has a serious conceptual problem. She’s complaining that a bar chart titled “Working Families Below 200 Percent of Poverty” starts at a baseline of 25% rather than 0%, magnifying the ups and downs of the percentages over the years. She recreates the graph with a zero baseline and says that “the percentage actually doesn’t change that much”. (Maybe she’s read Darrell Huff’s classic book, How to Lie with Statistics.)

    But she’s missing the context, and the point that those who created the graph are trying to make. They write,

    But it’s clear from the data that conditions for working families deteriorated after 2007 (see Figure 1).

    Changing the y-scale makes it easier to see the changes. In fact, McMegan could have created a graph that ran from zero to 100%, but then it would be more obvious to her readers that, hey, if we’re talking about changes over time, it would be helpful to show the data in a way that made those changes clear. It’s important not to be misleading in doing this, but I don’t see any deliberate manipulation.

    Also, she should be more consistent: here’s a post in which she’s talking about the “stratospheric rise” of the price of gold. Gee, the graph starts at $300 per ounce, not zero. (On a rescaled graph the pattern would still be obvious, since it runs to $1,400, but a stickler could argue that she’s subtly emphasizing the stratospheric rise by the choice of her y-axis. Uh-oh.)

  82. 82
  83. 83
    NobodySpecial says:

    @daveNYC: They’re not going to can her because it would upset her friends Matt and Ezra and company. They’ve carved out a fiefdom as Very Serious People and dropping McMegan would be an admission that they’re not all that bright. Therefore, won’t happen.

  84. 84
    Silver says:

    @NobodySpecial: That’s a good point. Let’s look at Yglesias too for a second. He’s a professional writer who can’t be bothered to use a fucking spellchecker (and since his father is a novelist, I’d imagine Dad dies a little inside every time he reads a post by Matty) and whose professional life seems to consist of paid junkets to Europe. He’s basically a fat fucking embarrassment, the liberal version of Douthat.

    Why do these people always fail upward?

    McArdle is also a noted expert on everything. Just a while ago, it turns out she worked in corporate IT. Building Novell networks, apparently-so she’s an expert on data security. I pointed out that getting an IT guy coffee as an intern hardly qualifies her, and that she couldn’t operate a fucking calculator. That didn’t go over well.

  85. 85
    different church-lady says:

    @mclaren: If you could instead “bang” her until she can’t blog anymore you’d be doing everyone a favor.

    (And yes, I feel dirty even replying to such.)

  86. 86
    slag says:

    Well, since being a libertarian means never having to say you’re sorry, none of this is really surprising. As I’ve finally become convinced, libertarianism truly is a fundamentalist mindset. And fundamentalism and facts do not often play nice.

  87. 87
    Matt says:

    Damnit, I had been almost completely McArdle free for a year and you make me go and look at her inane non-math.

  88. 88
    Tractarian says:

    if I have time tomorrow, I’ll try to figure out what I did, and see if I still want to defend it

    This quote is absolutely classic and must, I repeat must, become of the BJ taglines.

  89. 89
    FullCleveland says:

    If it makes you feel better, as of this morning more and more commenters at the Atlantic are pointing out that her changing the scale of the graph doesn’t provide a more “correct” analysis of the data than the original graph, and that it doesn’t change the central point of the graph.

    Unfortunately, McMegan appears utterly unable to grasp this.

  90. 90

    Marketplace is American Public Media, not NPR.

  91. 91
    DougJ says:

    @Cermet

    The correct value is probably 1.2%. The best estimate of total GDP over 20 years is 250 trillion (according to a friend at a bank who checked this through, I agree with him, I went with the high 4% to be generous). Several means at least three, by definition.

    Three divided by 250 is 1.2%.

  92. 92

    @DougJ @Cermet
    Wow, debating a point from 8 years ago made on a defunct blog that all hinges on whether several means (by definition) at least three or at least two (which is what it means in contract law). Sad

  93. 93

    @Steven H. Noble: Sure, let’s just leave the poor bullshitter alone. After all, no need to assess her (lack of) credibility when you can just pull a specialized definition out of your ass and pretend that makes the whole dispute go away.

    Even in her “correction”, McArdle can’t do arithmetic. At minimum, she was off by a factor of 6 (2/327 = 6%), not 3. Or she can do middle school arithmetic, and she’s laundering a lie through nominal and an implicit exaggeration of inflation.

    In fact, anyone who would claim it makes sense to use GDP projections from a two-decade span of the future and then to fuzz them up with off-point guesses at inflation shouldn’t be paid to write on economics.

    That’s something she claimed yesterday, and it’s the sort of error or mendacity that readers need to flog mercilessly until we get a better elite media. The one we have serves up far too much rank bullshit like this.

  94. 94

    @lovable liberal: Oh, example of how this should work for McArdle: I made an order of magnitude error (via typo). 6% should have been 0.6%. (In my case, not hers, analysis still valid…)

Comments are closed.