Glen Hubbard: Deliberately Misleading Readers

Romney economic advisor Glen Hubbard penned an op-ed today in the Wall Street Journal that is rather infuriating. Let’s look at Hubbard’s first assertion on policy uncertainty:

In response to the recession, the Obama administration chose to emphasize costly, short-term fixes—ineffective stimulus programs, myriad housing programs that went nowhere, and a rush to invest in “green” companies.

As a consequence, uncertainty over policy—particularly over tax and regulatory policy—slowed the recovery and limited job creation. One recent study by Scott Baker and Nicholas Bloom of Stanford University and Steven Davis of the University of Chicago found that this uncertainty reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone, and that returning to pre-crisis levels of uncertainty would add about 2.3 million jobs in just 18 months.

To the study we go! Here’s the graph of economic policy uncertainty:

Uncertainty rose a bit during the stimulus debate, though that also coincided with the crisis as a whole and TARP occurred right as Lehman Brothers collapsed. It’s certainly not fair to say that those policies did not cause any uncertainty – any policy change is going to make things more uncertain. But look what is responsible for “this uncertainty [that] reduced GDP by 1.4% in 2011 alone.” It’s the debt ceiling dispute! And who was responsible for it? The Republicans! They held the economy hostage for months. That 1.4 percent reduction is exactly what Obama tried to avoid by repeatedly calling for a clean increase of the debt ceiling. Yet, Hubbard is trying to lay the blame on the President! (And by the way, can we stop with this “ineffective stimulus” idea already? It wasn’t.) Continue reading “Glen Hubbard: Deliberately Misleading Readers”