“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the beancounters.”

(With apologies to Shakespeare). Or, how political discourse in America is becoming more like that in Greece.

I’ve been away in Europe for much of the last few weeks, and have heard plenty about the euro crisis (and US fiscal paralysis). And while I think the comparisons often made between the Greek and American fiscal situations are overstated (different debt-to-GDP ratios and trajectories, and critically very different arrangements with respect to central banks), in one way — namely the way in which Greece managed to enter into EMU, and to hide its debt to GDP ratio — the US could become more like Greece, if some in the political sphere have their way. From the FT:

The head of Elstat, Greece’s new independent statistics agency, faces an official criminal investigation for allegedly inflating the scale of the country’s fiscal crisis and acting against the Greek national interest.

Andreas Georgiou, who worked at the International Monetary Fund for 20 years, was appointed in 2010 by agreement with the fund and the European Commission to clean up Greek statistics after years of official fudging by the finance ministry.

“I am being prosecuted for not cooking the books,” Mr Georgiou told the Financial Times. “We would like to be a good, boring institution doing its job. Unfortunately, in Greece statistics is a combat sport.”

Mr Georgiou is due to appear before Greece’s prosecutor for financial crime on December 12 to answer the charges. If convicted of “betraying the country’s interests”, he could face life imprisonment.

The investigation follows a public dispute over the 2009 budget deficit figure. Under Mr Georgiou, the figure was revised upwards from 13.4 per cent to 15.8 per cent of gross domestic product — a record for a eurozone member state. The revised figure was accepted without reservation by Eurostat, the Brussels statistical service.

Elstat was established in August 2010 in an attempt to bring Greek statistics into line with EU standards. Before then, a committee of finance ministry and central bank officials came up with an annual budget deficit figure to be reported to Eurostat, based on numbers provided by the government statistics office. The finance minister was personally responsible for approving the final figure.

Since Elstat was set up, Eurostat has dropped its warnings about the reliability of Greek data on the public finances — formerly a regular footnote in Commission statistical reports. According to revised Eurostat data, Greece would have failed even to gain admission to the eurozone in 2001 because its deficit was too large.

So what does this have to do with America? Consider this statement:

“If you’re serious about health care reform, abolish the Congressional Budget Office,” calling the agency — which has positively scored President Obama’s health care proposals, and looked negatively on Republican ones, as “dishonest.”

That statement was made by Newt Gingrich. So if you want to make America more like Greece, don’t look to how the debt situation is evolving so much as how the assault on non-partisan, technocratic institutions is being manifested in the public debate.

He has also characterized the Congressional Budget Office* ‘as a “reactionary, socialist institution.”‘ [WSJ] (which makes me wonder about his grasp of history, since anyone who knows a bit about the reactionaries of mid-19th century Europe, and socialism — either utopian or “scientific” — would not put them in the same phrase).

For more on Gingrich and the CBO, see Bruce Bartlett and Ezra Klein. This post notes how Gingrich eliminated the Office of Technology Assessment (clearly, we know all we need to know about technology).

For more on the general anti-expertise tendencies in some areas of the political sphere, see [1] and [2].

* Full disclosure: I serve on the CBO Panel of Economic Advisers (as noted in the public record), and as a visiting fellow in July-Aug 2005.

45 thoughts on ““The first thing we do, let’s kill all the beancounters.”

  1. Manny C

    Of course you would be aware that “reactionary” was defined relative to what was revolutionary in France at that time. Gingrich may have a better grasp than you think because the “revolution” going on in US is one of “tea-partyism” and in Gingrich’s mind the CBO facilitates the “reactionary” movement to surpress this movement. So if Gingrich is right that the CBO is a socialist institution and “tea-partyism” is “revolutionary” then his description of the CBO as reactionary follows.

  2. JazzBumpa

    So, Manny. if you define “revolutionary” as meaning rectionary. then it follows that you must then also define “reactionary” as meaning revolutionary.
    Got it!

  3. Menzie Chinn

    Manny C: Well, we can re-define things any way we want, but I’ll stick to the conventional historical interpretation. And, having just returned from Vienna, I’ll just say I prefer the “Radetzy March” (admittedly, a catchy tune) characterization of “reactionary”. And I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea that the CBO is a socialist institution, unless, of course, the use of numbers is socialist. And maybe for Tea Party adherents, it is.

  4. Jeff

    Clearly Newt’s comments were hyperbolic, almost as hyperbolic as equating CBO criticism to Georgiou’s situation.
    For what its worth, Menzie, you seem to hide behind the “non-partisan” moniker of the CBO all too often. Just because they don’t have a party affiliation doesn’t mean their analysis isn’t slanted or above criticism.

  5. Dick

    Are not economists accountants in mathematician disguise? If so, sentence all the economists to death, and then pardon them if they promise never again to practice their witchcraft against the good people of the kingdom.
    As for the lawyers, stay not the bloody sword of justice; yea, kill ’em all forthwith.
    And woe to thee, baneful banksters, for your shame be unknown to thee; and your greed hath no limit. Your heads sit too smartly about your narrow shoulders, unburdened by the destruction you leave in your plunderous wake.
    Swiftly, off with their heads! Make quick with disposing of these loathsome serpents of deceit!

  6. Dan Nile

    When I read the headline, I thought that a cabal of MMT people had declared a coup, exterminated the accounting profession, and started printing fiat like there’s no tomorrow.

  7. W.C. Varones

    Would that be the same CBO that told us last year that deficit would be just 3% of GDP in 2013?
    Even ignoring the fact that “current law baseline” was politically impossible and preposterous on its face, the tax increases, unemployment cuts, and Medicare cuts would have hit GDP far too hard to have left deficits at 3%.
    What do we pay these clowns for other than to give Nancy Pelosi cover for using accounting gimmicks to claim ObamaCare reduces the deficit?

  8. Menzie Chinn

    Jeff: I agree that not all nonpartisan groups are unbiased. Technically, I believe Heritage Foundation is nonpartisan under the tax laws. Nonetheless, I would like you to be explicit, then. Are you stating that CBO’s assessment is slanted? If so, could you state specifically in which way, and in what instances has it been so?

  9. Steven Kopits

    Well, this is exactly what happened to my uncle in Hungary, and he was a 26 year IMF veteran. The difference is that he is now exiled to teach in places like Sienna, Italy and Cape Town, South Africa. He’s not in jail.
    But the issue is the same: an explicit desire by political leadership to avoid discussion of a given country’s fiscal condition. There is, in these places, no demand for policy advice. They are not maximizing social welfare (and we have no reason to think they should, unless you’re a social conservative and believe politicians are motivated by a sense of duty).
    So the very first thing you do when beginning a mission to one of these countries is to align the incentives. You pay them for performance, with no paycheck until the auditor (the IMF) signs off on accounts. And then you’ll see the Greeks and Hungarians and Italians stuffing uncounted reports and statistics down the throats of the IMF team.
    To complain about the service received from politicians when you are unwilling to recognize their value and provide them an unambigious objective function is both cheap and foolish.

  10. AS

    Dear Professor Chinn,
    Help us (me) out a bit on the CBO scoring of Obamacare. I seem to recall reading that the score is slanted in favor of Obamacare since taxes are raised before expenditures are incurred. First, is this true and second, in deference to the accountants, did the CBO use accrual accounting or cash basis accounting to make its conclusions. As we know, accountants try to match accrued expenses with earned revenue as opposed to matching cash intake with cash outflow, although there is a cash flow statement meant to convert accrual accounting to cash basis accounting.

  11. Anonymous

    W.C. Varones: Would that be the same CBO that told us last year that deficit would be just 3% of GDP [while] ignoring the fact that “current law baseline” was politically impossible and preposterous on its face.
    Irony, indeed!
    You fault the CBO for dismissing political considerations (which, incidentally, they are required to by law) at the same time you complain they are too political. I’m getting whiplash trying to keep up.

  12. 2slugbaits

    Menzie, how dare you quote Gingrich. As I recall it was just a few months ago that the Newtster told us that anyone who quoted him was lying.

  13. Jeff

    Menzie: All of the CBO’s fiscal policy analysis is clearly based upon some simplified old-Keynesian model. This is illustrated by the fact that they invariably produce a table of multipliers with little mention on where they came from. At best they’ll state that they pulled the figures from the literature, as if they have been well established. There will be no mention of the fact that there is no consensus on the multiplier effect, no mention on the effect of monetary policy responses, no mention that no one takes old-Keynesian models seriously. I would call this a significant policy slant.

  14. Menzie Chinn

    Jeff: Strange, I seem to recall some discussion of the differing methodologies. Oh, it’s in the appendix in every single issue of the quarterly reports the CBO has released on the ARRA (the most recent version was released last week). I have cited this documentation on several occasions.

    Regarding your assertion that CBO ignores monetary responses, I will refer you to this 2010 CBO document, which I highlighted in this post.

    “no one takes old-Keynesian models seriously”. Really? I am happy that the “truth” has been revealed to you. I also must consider the fact that I am talking at various times to figments of my imagination, if indeed absolutely nobody believes in those models, as you assert.

  15. Jeff

    Menzie: A brief mention of alternatives in an Appendix does not change the analysis. All it does is show that the authors are honest about their slant.
    And what exactly are you referring to in the 2010 CBO document? Are you referring to the statement that the “CBO assumed that the Federal Reserve would not reduce the amount of stimulus it was providing?” That statement? The one that says they are ignoring monetary responses? Again, acknowledging the slant does not remove it.

  16. Bruce

    The Keynesians need to prepare for US fiscal deficits approaching 100% of federal receipts in the next 3-4 years coinciding with a U rate of 13-18% along the way (and U-6 of 25%+, depending upon how many older Boomers are counted as unemployed, underemployed, or “retired”).
    US gross public debt to GDP will reach the levels of Japan today by decade’s end. Most of the US debt held by the public will be held by the Fed, banks, insurers, pensions, and individuals, with the 10-yr. Treasury yield falling to 1-1.25% and the 30-yr. bond yield well below 3%.
    We had similar conditions in the 1930s-40s, 1890s, and 1830s-40s. Demographics and imperial wars on various continents to rearrange the pieces on the global chessboard for the resource spoils ended each of these Long-Wave debt-deflationary regimes and enabled the onset of Long-Wave inflationary eras, culminating with the Second Opium War and US Civil War in the 1850s-60s, WW I in the 1910s, and the regional wars in SE Asia, Central Asia, and the Middle East in the 1970s.
    But the previous debt-deflationary depressions did not coincide with global population/ecological overshoot, peak global oil production and falling net energy and oil exports, and 7 billion human apes in a finite planet.
    70 million deaths resulted from the violence and privation of WW II, approximately 3-4% of total population. A 4% loss today would approximate the US population but would amount to just 4 years’ worth of population growth at the current trend rate.

  17. Ed Hanson

    There is absolutely no need to defend, define, or berate Gingrich for the snippet quote.
    Recognize it for what it is, a politically designed device to put a candidate in an unfavorable light. Note that it is not a complete sentence, there is no context, no knowledge if the snippet was part of the prepared speech or an off the cuff response to a question from the audience.
    Ignore this type of political tomfoolery, you can never be certain of its intent. For even you assume the initial reporter was reasonably accurate with quote and context, you, as the reader, deserve more respect by having a complete quote as well as question asked. You as the reader should not have to make assumptions. Be smart, such devices are too often used to twist meanings, simply, just ignore it.

  18. ppcm

    Nice tribune it could be titled “Cachez ces saints,que je ne saurai voir” or “Hide these saints, I cannot see” a little accomodation from Tartuffe “Cachez ces seins que je ne saurai voir” or “Hide this breast I cannot see”
    Let us see where is the faintest grasp of logic,Greece is going to nano science with its debts estimates as they would have been inflated by 2.4% in 2010,this is swelling the world fiscal and political scene.Never underestimate the country of Thales as there is leverage in this story,fiscal,political,financial,Albion could see opportunity in the carcase.So let us proceed with the Maastricht criteria and the so called convergence criteria.Relevant are the following obligations:
    Annual government deficit:
    “The ratio of the annual government deficit to gross domestic product (GDP) must not exceed 3% at the end of the preceding fiscal year. If not, it is at least required to reach a level close to 3%. Only exceptional and temporary excesses would be granted for exceptional cases”.
    Government debt:
    The ratio of gross government debt to GDP must not exceed 60% at the end of the preceding fiscal year.
    “Greece was accepted into the Economic and Monetary Union of the European Union by the European Council on 19 June 2000, based on a number of criteria (inflation rate, budget deficit, public debt, long-term interest rates, exchange rate) using 1999 as the reference year”.
    In year 2000 the public gross debt of Greece is of 115% of GDP.
    Taking the log of this story,accountants (comissaires aux comptes,let me give them the four legs they deserve commissaires aux comptes) banks financial,public accounts,since they exist rating agencies,government bodies,European commission and all of a sudden there are enough cases to feed the maggots.
    Having a great trust in the self correcting abilities of the capitalist system to survive itself, one may wait for the days when the hedge funds having collected the low fruits from the trees will have to start lucrative proceedings against the banks for misrepresentation of their accounts and for the public accounts the same.

  19. kharris

    OK, you missed the simple fact that the CBO is utterly transparent in its methods. When that was pointed out, you insist it “doesn’t change the analysis”. Setting aside that you don’t seem to be engaged in “analysis”, there is the problem that the CBO actually needs to adopt a method of estimating the interaction between economic activity and the budget. You’ve chosen to call it a “slant” but any other choice would be equally slanted, if “slant” is the spin you want to go with.
    The CBO uses multipliers. Keynes used multipliers. Stop me if I’m wrong, ’cause I’ve never done any I-O work, but don’t input-output models imply multipliers? In fact, doesn’t any acknowledgement of economic activity as non-zero-sum imply multipliers?
    There is a form of critique which, in simplest form, runs along these lines – “I don’t like Keynes. Keynes said, used, implied X. Anybody who says, uses or implies X must be wrong.” (Marx, Krugman, Clinton, Obama and Chomsky are all substituted for Keynes at various times by various people.) This form of critique is illegitimate, but boy, is it popular.

  20. Jeffrey J. Brown

    Given political paralysis in many OECD countries, e.g., Greece & the US, I suspect that many OECD countries that are currently running deficits will curtail their borrowing only when they are unable to borrow money at affordable rates, which of course leaves the “lender” of last resort, central banks.
    As a recent article put it, we are looking at default or inflation on a global scale, as we engage in a massive global denial of what is actually happening, to-wit, an ongoing decline in the volume of Global Net Exports of oil (GNE).
    At the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in Chindia’s combined net oil imports as a percentage of GNE, the Chindia region would consume 100% of GNE in only 19 years.
    I remain mystified that this factual statement is not the #1 story in the world.

  21. c thomson

    Wow, Bruce does good woe! Got your bunker ready, man?
    While we are abolishing the CBO, what about abolishing ‘affordable’ when we mean ‘subsidized’, ‘middleclass’ when we mean ‘former middle income’, ‘metric’ when we mean ‘measurement’ and ‘counterfactual’ when we mean ‘alternative.’
    Let’s try to get academics writing like humans (or journalists if that is too tough a goal.) Adam Smith, Keynes and Milton Friedman had no problems with this. At last, academic economists might approach the usefulness of dentists!

  22. Ricardo

    Everyone is missing the greater point, even Gingrich. Why are we allowing government to make such decisions as running monetary systems and economies when they so obviously incapable of responding to the needs of producer and consumer, especially when markets have proven to be vastly superior? Then secondarily, why do we give the political class access to statistics they can manipulate at will to enrich themselves or to hide their incompetence or graft?
    It is the massive hubris that believes that a group of people who are sly enough to fool the electorate are the most honest people in the room.
    Why is it that a crook who gets elected is suddenly a pillar of virtue and an idiot who gets elected suddenly believes himself capable of running the world?
    Greece is not having problems because of lying politicians, academics, and bureaucrats. Greece is having problems because the economy was taken out of the hands of the people and given to politicians, academics, and bureaucrats.

  23. steve

    “Would that be the same CBO that told us last year that deficit would be just 3% of GDP in 2013?’
    Did you even read the post to which you linked? The CBO offers several scenarios, and you pick the one you prefer to make a point. Who is lying here?

  24. nick

    Ricardo: “Why are we allowing government to make such decisions as running monetary systems and economies when they so obviously incapable of responding to the needs of producer and consumer, especially when markets have proven to be vastly superior?”

  25. kharris

    Uh, oh. Looks like the CBO is getting the old “global warming is a liberal fraud” … “catsup/pizza/tobacco is a vegetable”…”Gore said he invented the internet” treatment. Fact is, the Newtster has on more than one occasion called for the abolition of the CBO. If we readers deserve more “respect” than reporters writing stories instead of performing stenography, well the texts of other calls by Gringrich for the destruction of the CBO are available on line. Arguing that reporting rather than political reality is the problem is pretty much straight from Gingrich’s own playbook.
    Remember INR at the State Department? Got the aluminum tubes analysis right when the CIA got it wrong. The right dumped on INR, drove off the professionals who knew what was what and crippled the office. That’s what you get when you put reality ahead of partisan arguments. Goes for the CBO, too.

  26. Menzie Chinn

    Jeff: No. I was referring to the statement on page 15:

    …When analyzing fiscal policy
    actions in this paper, however, CBO assumed that as the recovery progressed, the Federal Reserve would see less need to provide monetary stimulus. Under CBO’s macroeconomic forecast, that assumption implies that at the end of 2011 the Federal Reserve would gradually begin to offset fiscal policy actions by raising interest rates (or engaging in other actions to tighten monetary policy) in order to reduce the risk of excessive inflation. As a result, a fiscal policy action that had an initially positive impact on output in 2010 or 2011 would have a smaller negative effect later.

    Maybe that is too simplistic, compared to that used in DSGE’s used by say Cogan, Cwik, Taylor and Wieland — oops, that is the kind of assumption used! Oh, well. Still don’t know what the heck about you’re talking about.

  27. Menzie Chinn

    Ed Hanson: Let me get this straight. Are you implying the videotape of the Republican debate at which Gingrich made the statement has been manufactured? Strange, in this time of YouTube…

    Buzzcut: Yes. I was a CBO Visiting Fellow in summer 2005, so I “worked” for them in the same way I worked for the Fed, the IMF, the SF Fed, the ECB, the Swedish Central Bank, etc. But when I think of “work” in a substantive, directed sense, my only real employers have been UCSC, UW, and Clinton and Bush White House staffs.

  28. Bruce

    “At the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in Chindia’s combined net oil imports as a percentage of GNE, the Chindia region would consume 100% of GNE in only 19 years.
    I remain mystified that this factual statement is not the #1 story in the world.”
    @Jeffrey, profound point.
    Despite the nominal price of oil being 3-4 times the average price from the 1920s-30s to 2004-05 (Peak Oil), total global “petroleum” supply is down 14-15% in global per-capita terms.
    Extrapolating from the trend rates of petroleum supply and population, per-capita petroleum supply will have contracted 33-50% by 2020-30.
    At the current decline in per-capita petroleum supply since the onset of Peak Oil, the world is now where the US was in 1973-75 in terms of loss of growth of supply per capita from the 1970 US peak. US crude oil production per capita is down 62% from the 1970 peak and down 53% from the secondary peak in 1985 (15-yr. production plateau).
    At the trend rates of petroleum supply and population, the world will reach where the US was in per-capita crude oil supply from the US peak by no later than 2018-20. However, the peak of US crude oil production and falling per-capita production thereafter ended the growth of US industrialization and coincided with the onset of US deindustrialization, financialization, feminization (increasingly services associated with women entering the paid labor force en masse), and overt militarization of the economy and society thereafter.
    But the US averaged crude oil production of 9.5Mbbl/day at the average nominal oil price of $18-$19 during the US peak crude production plateau during 1970-85.
    The US had low debt/GDP.
    US real wages, while peaking, had not yet begun to contract inexorably.
    Wages to GDP were near the post-WW II high.
    World population was 50-60% of today’s level and still not yet (but nearing) in overshoot.
    World crude oil production was growing at 4-5%/yr. (vs. 2.4% over the same period and 1% since the early 1980s).
    China-Asia (ex. Japan) was largely per-industrial.
    Were the US pattern to repeat globally with the world at peak crude oil and total petroleum production, globalized industrialization and debt-money-based (“financialized”) real GDP growth per capita are done.

  29. Jeff

    Menzie: If you really do not know what I’m talking about then you need to stop, take a breath, try to ignore your sensitivities toward criticism, and re-read the passage you just quoted. Hint: by stating that they expect monetary policy to offset fiscal policy by the end of 2011, they are implicitly stating that they assumed monetary policy would have no effect prior.
    This is an assumption that many would disagree with and it is fair to question it. As it happens it is an assumption that aligns well with the democratic party and thus the CBOs analysis is biased towards the left. So to say the CBO concluded this or that and we should somehow give special weight to these results because of their nonpartisan status is misleading.
    p.s. Citing one other work that makes similar assumptions is NOT proof that the assumption is unbiased. Macroeconomics if full of biases on either side of the spectrum.

  30. Menzie Chinn

    Jeff: You are indeed the master of moving the goalposts. First you say there is no documentation of where the multipliers came from, and thus must all come from old fashioned Keynesian models. When confronted with the documentation, then you say the documentation is insufficient, and the assumptions are biased with respect to monetary policy. I then provide evidence of eminently reasonable assumptions regarding the conduct of monetary policy. My guess, CBO will turn out to be early — rather than late — on the rise in interest rates, but you might have better inside information on that. And yet you are saying they are biased? Hmmm. Warp speed ahead on those goalposts!

  31. dilbert dogbert

    “At last, academic economists might approach the usefulness of dentists!”
    Impossible! Economists cause pain and dentists stop pain.

  32. Dick

    @dilbert, how are economists and proctologists alike?
    They are a pain in the [email protected]@.
    They are good at getting people to bend over and take it.
    They are always behind.
    They probe around in the dark for a living.
    They are trained to avoid or reduce friction.
    They rarely look you in the eye when talking to you.
    Their jobs stink.
    Neither has ever correctly forecast a recession.
    Their favorite work is getting down to the bottom of models.
    Neither can spell “heteroskedasticity”.

  33. Ed Hanson

    Menzie you wrote me
    “Ed Hanson: Let me get this straight. Are you implying the videotape of the Republican debate at which Gingrich made the statement has been manufactured? Strange, in this time of YouTube…”
    Menzie, the debate happened Nov 5 in Texas and you referenced a TPM article which used the “dishonest” quote. While I may have problems of a 90 minute debate being reduced to a single sentence talking point, it was not the issue of which I wrote.
    To remind you, it was the “reactionary, socialist institution” snippet which you referenced to a WSJ article which was about a town hall meeting at St. Anselm College in Manchester, N.H. So are you telling me Newt used the socialist line in the debate also. I certainly have not read or seen that anywhere but from you. Good, would you be so kind as to provide a link, or if it is from the debate an approximate time within the video?
    BTW, I never said manufactured, a possibility I thought was low, but questioned the context of the snippet as well as the intent of the author of the article.

  34. Johannes

    Menzie ! you have been in Vienna. Thats not far away from my former home town. I was born near Linz.
    did you eat Wiener Schnitzel ?

  35. Jeffrey J. Brown

    An excerpt from a blogger on The Oil Drum (ty454):
    “That’s what’s going on now, the government and banks are going to pull every trick or lie or cheat that they’re able to, because the alternative is their very own destruction.”
    My comments:
    I suspect that this is one of the primary reasons that we will probably never get most government officials, members of the MSM, etc. to actually acknowledge the reality of Peak Oil/Peak Exports. I think that we are seeing cognitive dissonance on a global scale. Government officials generally refuse to acknowledge resource limits. It’s as if, once the Titanic hit the iceberg, the officers resumed the voyage, and ignored reports of flooding.
    For the global economy, and especially for oil importing OECD countries, the iceberg was Peak Net Oil Exports in 2005. At the 2005 to 2010 rate of increase in Chindia’s combined net oil imports as a percentage of Global Net Exports (GNE), the Chindia region would consume 100% of GNE in only 19 years.

  36. Menzie Chinn

    Ed Hanson: Thanks for the clarification. Then, see: CNN, which provides the surrounding context. There’s a video somewhere out there, but I can’t locate easily — maybe you can, and then share with us.

    Johannes: Wiener schnitzel? Ja, bestimmt — swei mal. Ausgezeichnet!

  37. Buzzcut

    “Yes. I was a CBO Visiting Fellow in summer 2005, so I “worked” for them in the same way I worked for the Fed, the IMF, the SF Fed, the ECB, the Swedish Central Bank, etc. But when I think of “work” in a substantive, directed sense, my only real employers have been UCSC, UW, and Clinton and Bush White House staffs.”
    Typical Menzie response, arguing over the definition of words.
    You like Shakespeare? “Me think the lady doth protest too much”.
    Newt probably overstated things a bit, as he usually does, nothing more.

  38. Menzie Chinn

    Buzzcut: If it makes you happy, you can say I worked for CBO. Unsurprisingly, it’s clear you don’t “do nuance”. Except, of course, when it concerns Gingrich.

    By the way, did you ever volunteer at the library (let’s say) and get a free donut? Hmm. Guess you “worked” for the library.

    But, I have added the visiting position to the disclosure statement (which is in addition to everything that is posted on my cv).

  39. Ed Hanson

    Thanks Menzie for the CNNMoney link.
    That allows the quote to move from a snippet sound bite to a single sentence sound bite. Here it is:
    “The Congressional Budget Office is a reactionary socialist institution which does not believe in economic growth, does not believe in innovation and does not believe in data that it has not internally generated,”
    Still no context but better. Still just a tempest in a teapot. As usual the dominant media (in this case CNN Money) picks and chooses what it will publicize. Missing is the discussion of the important parts of the speech, welfare reform plans, SS reform, and Medicare reform. But so it goes.
    As if it is not obvious, I would agree more with what is in the the Gingrich statement than disagree, just as you disagree with essentially all of it.
    With your additional helpful information I have made a third Google search for any audio or video of the townhall meeting but again came up with nothing. I would suggest you not attempt, you have better things to do. However if you wish to assign it to one of your captive grad students, I’m all for it.

  40. Menzie Chinn

    Ed Hanson: There is a Youtube video with blocked access which has a link to another site which I hesitate to click on. You might be braver (or have more faith in your anti-virus package).

    I do not assign to my grad students tasks related to this blog; I think you misapprehend the academic enterprise…

  41. Ed Hanson

    Sorry Menzie I have not guts. And did not think you did with the grad students, but humor is hard to do in blog form.

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