When a politician misleads the public with distorted or flat-out fictional data, or uses eight minutes of national TV time to smear the character of the careful scholar who dared to report an inconvenient set of facts, you can always count on Paul Krugman of the New York Times to leap to the defense of truth and honesty — or, alternatively, to jump on the bandwagon if the politician happens to be a Democrat.
Here, you see, is what happened this week: Salim Furth, an economist at the Heritage Foundation (and a graduate of the University of Rochester, where I knew him to be a thoughtful and honest researcher) testified before the Senate budget committee, where he presented data from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) showing that most European governments have recently increased their spending. (This isn’t surprising for several reasons, one of which is that governments often spend more in recessionary times.)
Enter Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, who spent eight excruciating televised minutes lambasting Furth and questioning his honesty, by reading out OECD numbers that differed dramatically from what Furth had reported. Some choice comments:
Dr. Furth, I am very concerned about your testimony….
When I look at the graph, for instance, which you source to the OECD — did you actually look at what the OECD says?….
They’ve actually written what the numbers are. And here’s what the numbers actually are, according to the OECD….
I am concerned that your testimony to this committee has been meretricious…I am contesting whether you have given us fair and accurate information.
And then there’s another eight minutes of reading out numbers that are, Senator Whitehouse keeps reminding us actually from the OECD, as opposed to these other numbers reported by Furth, which Furth claims are from the OECD, but obviously can’t be, because Whitehouse has the actual OECD numbers right here, and look how different they are — all of this interspersed with a barrage of attacks on Furth’s character and integrity. (See the video below, if you have the stomach for it.) [link at source]
Now here’s the thing: There are a couple of legitimate reasons why Furth’s and Whitehouse’s numbers don’t agree. The first is that they’re for different time periods. Furth’s are for the years 2007-2012, while Senator Whitehouse’s are for the years 2009-2016. That’s right, 2016. Which brings us to the other reason these numbers differ: Furth’s come from the historical record, while Senator Whitehouse’s come from somebody’s ass.
Source: Lies and Lying Liars [excerpted], The Big Questions, June 7, 2013.
Lots of interesting links, here.
Whatever, Krugman. Or should I say Kang?
“Which brings us to the other reason these numbers differ: Furths come from the historical record, while Senator Whitehouses come from somebodys ass.”
Krugman and the Gray Old Whore... perfect together.
Now 'ats funny right dere.
I had to look that up.
meretricious |merəˈtri sh əs| adjective
1 apparently attractive but having in reality no value or integrity : meretricious souvenirs for the tourist trade.
2 archaic of, relating to, or characteristic of a prostitute.