Thursday, January 14, 2010

Boskin takes out everyone

Michael Boskin spares nobody in a scathing review of statistical shenanigans. My first thought was that he'd take on the "jobs saved or created" numbers of the Obama administration again, and so he does. But not before taking on the French and the Venezuelans for suggesting fast and loose play with standards of national accounting. And the CBO's scoring of the health insurance reform bill gets honorable mention.

One could quibble with how phony statistics are not monopolized by either end of the political spectrum, but that is wholly beside the point. Boskin is absolutely right about how numbers that do lie --- namely those that are cooked up --- only end up reducing popular support for anything couched in quantitative terms.