Sunday, July 10, 2011

A dark day for economics

As if our failure to predict the financial tsunami, and our constant bickering and dithering about appropriate economic policies weren't enough, now comes Paul Ryan's Vino-gate to cast further unflattering light on us economists.

First consider the "whistle-blower" Dr. Feinberg. She seems to think you need a PhD in economics to be able to do basic arithmetic:

"I was an economist so I started doing the envelope calculations and quickly figured out that those two bottles of wine was more than two-income working family making minimum wage earned in a week."

Man I guess she has STATA on her smartphone or something 'cause that's a real brain teaser:

700-(7.25X40X2) >O

I am going to go out on a limb and say that set of calculations owed more to her being a liberal who hates Ryan and others of his ilk than being an economist.

Then consider Ryan's two dinner companions, who also turn out to be economists and to be the ones who ordered the two bottles of wine (according to Ryan). They are not exactly covered in glory either.

First, as Ryan himself points out while throwing his pals under the bus, it's a douchebag move to order the most expensive bottle on the wine list and then to double down on it shortly thereafter.

Second, getting up and throwing F-bombs at a woman, even if she's being obnoxious (or "crazy" and "possibly drunk" as Ryan put it) just ain't cool.

People, I'd like to assure you that economists are not really like this at all, but what reason would you have to believe me?

Here's another take on the situation from our friends at Popehat.


Mungowitz said...

Wow. She might want to update her c.v., now that she's famous and all.

She lists a paper forthcoming (in the AER, pretty impressive!). But it was published in 2006, five years ago. So it is at least six years since she updated the c.v.

Since she is such a math adept, I wonder if she could figure out the percentage that her meal, with her wine, cost as a percent of a minimum wage couple's weekly income. I bet that couple she is so worried about could not pay for HER meal either.

But then she didn't vote to kill and eat old people, the way PR did. So I guess that let's her off the hook.

Mungowitz said...

Her c.v., so you don't have to look it up:

Bill said...

I don't get it. Ryan and his dinner companions spent their own money for dinner and wine. How does this relate to political issues regarding how to reduce the federal budget deficit? Seems like a non sequitur to me.

Bill said...

Oooops --- should have read the Popehat entry before commenting.

Anonymous said...

I love this comment over on the TPM article:

"Agreed. This is a GAME CHANGER, and almost as good as Kerry's yacht and Barney Frank's Fannie job for his boyfriend."

Yeah, because we all know how those two events really changed the trajectory for those two politicians. We'd be calling it the Frank-Dodd Act instead of Dodd-Frank if Rep. Frank hadn't blatantly ignored a major conflict of interest in his work related to Fannie and Freddie. Yes, he's really regretting that one.

Gerardo said...

The "possibly drunk" is a nice touch. I think going with the "possibly drunk and had evidently peed on herself" as a means of discrediting her.

Anonymous said...

Is she actually an economist?

Her CV lists no econ departments. Her B.S. is in Marketing, and PhD in Business Administration. Her pubs in econ journals seem to be co-authored with Keane, who is an economist by any measure.