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”

Criticizing Dishonest Ads

I’m generally in agreement with Paul Krugman on most things, but every once in a while, he tosses something out there that I take a slight issue with. From a blog post today on the “you didn’t build that” controversy:

First, sure enough, the self-reliant businessman featured in Romney’s ads was the beneficiary of large government loans and contracts. This doesn’t make him a bad guy; pretending that he did it all himself does.

Pretending that he did it all himself makes him a bad guy? Plenty of Americans don’t realize the role government has in their lives. It makes him a “bad guy” for not remembering a loan from 1999 or a few Navy contracts in 2008? More likely, the businessman did realize that he dealt with the government, but he sees it as much him helping the government as the government helping him out. An even trade. He may even understand that the government helped him a bit, but thinks Obama isn’t giving him and his family enough credit so he goes to the extreme and denies any government help.

None of that makes him a “bad guy” though.

But that’s just a minor, disrespectful phrase by Krugman. My larger  issue with him and other liberal bloggers has been the fact that they’ve jumped on Romney for his most recent, dishonest ad, but laid off on Obama’s “outsourcer” attack.

I agree that Romney’s ad is slightly worse. His campaign took two chunks out of Obama’s speech, cut out the middle and edited it so it seemed like there was nothing in between. That’s pretty dishonest, but Obama also spent a while calling Romney an “outsourcer” from his Bain days, trying to insinuate that Romney would rather create jobs abroad than in the US. That’s pretty deceitful as well.

Now there was a lot of debate over Romney’s involvement with Bain after he left to run the Olympics and how much responsibility he has for Bain’s actions then. But I’m not sure that matters that much. Obama’s ads made it sound like Romney’s actions deliberately harmed the country by sending jobs abroad. While not blatantly dishonest, the ad is still very misleading. The companies under Bain that shipped jobs overseas did so because it was the right move for those companies. Even if Romney was in charge, it was still the right move. Why would anyone expect him to keep those jobs in the country if the companies could produce greater profits by sending them overseas?

Krugman and other liberal bloggers (and all journalists) have every right to jump on Romney for his less-than-truthful ads, but they also have a duty to jump on Obama as well. The criticism for dishonest ads should go both ways.