Stephen Moore’s Analysis of Income Taxes and Employment Growth

Or, Stephen Moore Is (Still) a Liar

On July 9th, 2014, the Wichita Eagle published an op-ed by Mr. Stephen Moore:

No-income-tax Texas gained 1 million jobs over the past five years; California, with its 13 percent tax rate, managed to lose jobs. Oops. Florida gained hundreds of thousands of jobs while New York lost jobs. Oops. Illinois raised taxes more than any other state over the past five years, and its credit rating is the second lowest of all the states, below that of Kansas. [emphasis added MDC]

Now, as of July 9th, one would know employment figures for May 2014. Let’s plot the data that he should have been looking at.

Figure 1: Log civilian employment for California (blue), Florida (red), New York (green), and Texas (black), all normalized to 2009M05. Source: BLS and author’s calculations.

The astute observer will note that this graph does not match with Stephen Moore’s characterization. Yael Abouhalkah determines that one reason for the disjuncture is that Moore actually used calculations for December 2007 to December 2012. Why would Mr. Moore use a sample ending in 2012 for an article in mid-2014? Maybe because the picture is much more amenable to his thesis.

Figure 2: Log civilian employment for California (blue), Florida (red), New York (green), and Texas (black), all normalized to 2007M12. Source: BLS and author’s calculations.

Notice, even then, the pattern of changes does not match up with what Mr. Moore described. That’s because he added up the numbers incorrectly. Moreover, the household survey, upon which the civilian employment series is based upon, imprecisely measures employment at the state level, given the relatively small samples used (see this graphical depiction). The latest vintage of these series differs from those Mr. Moore knew of in July 2014.

Why did he use this imprecisely measured series? This question takes on a heightened importance given Mr. Moore’s emphasis on “jobs” in the op-ed, since the establishment series tabulates jobs, while the household series tabulates employed individuals. What does Figure 1 look like using nonfarm payroll numbers?

Figure 3: Log nonfarm payroll employment for California (blue), Florida (red), New York (green), and Texas (black), all normalized to 2009M05. Source: BLS May 2014 release via ALFRED and author’s calculations.

Note that, while Texas still leads, Florida and California tie, hence casting doubt on the thesis that low income taxes necessarily lead to faster employment growth. Of course, anybody with a rudimentary knowledge of the (absence of) correlation between the Moore-Laffer-ALEC economic outlook ranking and economic growth would know any relationship found by Mr. Moore would be fragile.

This episode prompted the Kansas City Star to ban Mr. Moore from their publication.

Mr. Moore has never provided an explanation for the selection of time sample used in his original op-ed. Something to remember when he asserts tax cuts result in higher tax revenues (also in 2005).

95 thoughts on “Stephen Moore’s Analysis of Income Taxes and Employment Growth

  1. pgl

    Moore’s latest attributes the 1990’s boom to the premise that Clinton cut taxes. Seriously? I guess Moore has never heard of the 1993 tax law change.

    He as usual pretends that President Kennedy was a supply-sider. Never mind the fact that JFK’s CEA were Keynesians. Of course Kennedy was not the one who signed the 1964 tax cut. That would be LBJ.

  2. pgl

    This spin needs to be challenged:

    ‘Larry Kudlow’s 2016 book “JFK and The Reagan Revolution” documented the post-JFK tax cut growth spurt. “The tax payments by the wealthiest filers nearly doubled,” he wrote. “We had many quarters of 6% growth back then.”’

    We did have a lot of Keynesian stimulus that led to 6.5% growth for both 1965 and 1966 – the tax cut, the Great Society programs, and the military build-up in Vietnam. During a meeting in December 1965 – the CEA warned LBJ that this fiscal stimulus might lead the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates. The FED did raise interest rates leading to the 1966 credit crunch. Kudlow fails to note this. He also fails to note how real GDP growth fell in 1967. Of course LBJ ignored his own economists and jawboned the FED to back off – which led to an acceleration of inflation.

    Of course supply-side liars like Kudlow and Moore blame the Keynesians for this inflation as they do not have the integrity to blame themselves.

    1. baffling

      “Kudlow fails to note this. ”
      he does not fail to note these items. he is very selective in how he uses history to create his own narrative. very common practice amongst conservatives. rick stryker is prolific on this site at selectively using data to support his positions. such behavior is intentional, and dishonest.

  3. rtd

    You claim Moore’s thesis is “that low income taxes necessarily lead to faster employment growth”
    However, in the Moore’s original oped (as linked by you):
    “This does not mean all states that cut taxes have growth or that all states with high taxes don’t have growth. It means there is a strong propensity for low-tax and tax-cutting states to grow.”
    However right or wrong you wish Moore to be, you should do better (not that we really expect you to) by at least learning that “propensity” and “necessarily” aren’t synonyms.

    You state: “Why would Mr. Moore use a sample ending in 2012 for an article in mid-2014? Maybe because the picture is much more amenable to his thesis.”
    Of note is the CJR article you linked to seems to suggest a longer time series (used in Moore’s Heritage update) may actually be stronger in supporting the thesis you attribute to Moore:
    “The version of Moore’s op-ed at the Heritage site was corrected today to remove the incorrect material. The problematic New York/Florida data for 2007-2012 was dropped entirely, and replaced by numbers from a longer time period (1990-May 2014) that support Moore’s point. Paradoxically, it’s more persuasive than the original, even if there are still complicating factors he doesn’t really address.”

    Given that we’re referencing sloppy data from 2014, you shouldn’t be so hard on Moore incorrectly adding numbers as we know how, in the same year, you were clumsy with elementary data manipulation (in a blog about how to read macro data, no less!!! The irony of you posting a “how to” on reading is about as ironic as it gets.)

    The funny thing is I have linked to Moore’s articles pointing out his errors (three years ago haha) but I can’t resist pointing out more examples of Menzie being Menzie… Or, Menzie Chinn’s reading comprehension is (still) abysmal… Or, Menzie Chinn is (still) a partisan Econ-blogger.

    Only the third day, and what a new year it’s already been on econbrowser. I vote for a change to the site’s sub-title: “Menzie Chinn’s sloppily partisan “analysis” of three year old economic conditions and policy.”

    1. pgl

      You claim Moore’s thesis is “that low income taxes necessarily lead to faster employment growth”.

      Interesting as your read of what Stephen Moore is saying basically says that Art Laffer has been lying to us ever since 1974. Good to know!

      1. rtd

        I’m not so sure it’s my “read of what Stephen Moore is saying” so much as it is a quote directly from Moore’s article and Menzie’s quote. I don’t care to get involved in assuming how Moore and Laffer agree/disagree on specifics.

        1. pgl

          “I don’t care to get involved … “. I see – your intent was just another way of insulting our host and nothing more. Pardon the interruption.

    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Dennis: Thanks for your comment. Your view: Mr. Moore did not lie. Let that be committed to virtual paper. Wow.

      By the way, the “mistake” you keep on referring to was due to rounding error. I took nominal, deflated by appropriate price deflator, and obtained slightly different numbers from what BEA reported for real GDP annualized growth. If that in your mind matches in magnitude and intent deliberately taking data a year and a half out of date and less accurate than the conventionally used series, then I feel sorry for you.

      1. rtd

        Who is Dennis?

        My view isn’t that “Mr. Moore did not lie” & I never stated such. My view is that you’re often partisan, sloppy, and subjective in your analyses and that you severely lack reading comprehension skills. You must do better at the latter as it truly is a critical skill as an adult and especially someone who seeks being accepted as providing reliable analyses.

        Your mistakes (in the same lecture on “Reading Macro Data”) were omitting a sign, not properly using nominal and real data… i.e. you didn’t properly read macro data & the error was you being sloppy but these are errors even a UW-Madison art major could make.

        1. pgl

          I have never been to UW Madison but I trust their art majors have more manners than you have shown here. If your goal is to insult our host (generally with zero basis) you have exceeded expectations. Congratulations!

  4. Steven Kopits

    There are risks to excessive advocacy.

    Some rules I try to follow:

    1. Don’t outrun your data
    2. Be specific in the text (“From 2007 to 2012…”)
    3. Mention the source in the text (“According to the household survey…”)
    4. Hyperlink the source

    The editors take some blame here. Heritage is well-known for taking advocacy points of view which put a political spin on the data. That a not entirely accurate op-ed was penned by Heritage should therefore come as no surprise, nor would it surprise me from the Center for American Progress, Paul Krugman or even others.

    The editors should have turned back to Moore to include items 2-4 above.

    Having said all this, I think Moore is about right in the longer term.

    I’d also note that the top 1% pay 50% of the state taxes in CA and 42% in NJ. The limitation of the SALT deduction is going to trash the group in the high tax states. So then we’ll see how jobs and the tax base do, and whether we see an increase in out-migration. Best I can tell, however, there is an exodus towards Florida on the East Coast, and towards Texas from California. The new tax code will likely exacerbate these tendencies.

    1. baffling

      looks like the salt deductions may end up staying in a round about way after all. several states are looking at ways to recharacterize those taxes as “donations” which are not limited. it just amazes me that conservatives could create a tax policy which intentionally double taxes american workers. seriously, conservative tax policy believes it is an economic positive to place a tax on paid taxes? conservative economic policy! who would have thunk it.

    2. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Steve Kopits: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a comparable error of omission or commission in Center for American Progress (or Center for Budget and Policy Priorities or Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) document. If you have, I would welcome a citation.

      I believe Heritage is in a league of its own.

      1. Steven Kopits

        OK, from the Center for American Progress.

        “With an uptick in the number of days with extreme temperatures throughout the year, these households need that assistance more than ever.”

        From The Trump Budget Will Worsen Climate Change While Hurting the Most-Affected Families

        And here’s the EPA’s metric for the same figure.
        Climate Change Indicators: High and Low Temperatures
        This indicator describes trends in unusually hot and cold temperatures across the United States.

        See the graph. And also this on the same page: “•The 20th century had many winters with widespread patterns of unusually low temperatures, including a particularly large spike in the late 1970s (see Figure 3). Since the 1980s, though, unusually cold winter temperatures have become less common—particularly very cold nights ”

        The CAP statement is false is false. And I spent five minutes on the topic.

        1. Majorajam

          Lying so as to accuse others lying is exactly what this world needs, so thanks for that. “Through the budget, President Trump has proposed eliminating LIHEAP, which helps low-income households pay for their heating and cooling costs.”

  5. 2slugbaits

    California, with its 13 percent tax rate, managed to lose jobs.

    This is deeply misleading. The 13 percent rate (actually 13.3 percent) only applies to very, very high income folks…single filers making more than $1M and joint filers making more than $2M. If you made less than $250K for single filers or $500K for joint filers, there was no change at all after Prop 30. Is Moore trying to tell us that increasing the tax rate on millionaires is responsible for people fleeing the state? Also, Prop 30 didn’t go into effect until 2013, which is near the end of Menzie’s chart. I don’t see any obvious change in the employment growth rate.

    Menzie attributes Moore’s comments to deep mendacity. Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to think the man is just plain old stupid. Dumb as a bag of hammers. Clueless. Too busy rushing from one speaking engagement to another to actually check facts and data. Although I have no idea why anyone would pay this man a speaking fee. His business clients would be better off treating everyone in the office to a couple rounds of martini lunches.

    1. pgl

      “Menzie attributes Moore’s comments to deep mendacity. Perhaps, but I’m more inclined to think the man is just plain old stupid. Dumb as a bag of hammers. Clueless.”

      That in essence is how conservative Bruce Bartlett puts it. Bruce literally cringes every time he has to endure a Stephen Moore oped.

  6. Bruce Hall

    baffling“Donations” are, by definition, a voluntary gift. If states want to characterize their “suggested gifts” as “donations”, then they might have a court fight with those who don’t want to give the state a “gift”.

    1. baffling

      you can give the state a donation, or pay an equivalent tax-your choice and the state does not care one way or the other. so we will have folks sue so that they can pay more in taxes? perhaps i wouldn’t put it past the deplorable to use such logic after all. at any rate, i am surprised that conservatives such as yourself so defiantly support the double taxation that has been built into the conservative tax code. can you tell me why you support double taxation, when i hear so much about reducing the tax burden?

  7. Erik Poole

    Why do so many high-tax nation states have better socio-economic outcomes than the low-tax USA?

    Could lower US taxes be a factor in the declining life expectancy of middle-aged white males?

    That result is driven in part by substance abuse. Most dangerous ‘substances’ are income-elastic so if disposable income is higher, then middle-aged white American males spend more on dangerous substances.

    Or do middle-aged American male workers simply miss the sex, drugs and rock ‘n roll lifestyle on the auto manufacturing assembly line jobs? In this scenario, these great workers get depressed and frustrated so ‘substance’ use increases.

    1. PeakTrader

      The U.S. has a regulation problem that drives up costs.

      The U.K. has a socialist problem that creates shortages.

      Lower taxes in the U.S. can make healthcare affordable again for the middle class.

      U.K. health care – January 2018:

      “Every hospital in the country has been ordered to cancel all non-urgent surgery until at least February in an unprecedented step by NHS officials. The instructions on Tuesday night – which will see result in around 50,000 operations being axed – followed claims by senior doctors that patients were being treated in “third world” conditions, as hospital chief executives warned of the worst winter crisis for three decades. Hospitals are reporting growing chaos, with a spike in winter flu leaving frail patients facing 12-hour waits, and some units running out of corridor space.”

  8. Rick Stryker


    I understand your outrage. If somebody gets the facts wrong in an economic editorial, they are LYING. Even worse, Moore’s 2014 sin was directed at Krugman, who would never, ever do the same thing. The outraged Wichita Eagle banned Moore from its pages, naturally.

    None of this outrage has anything to do with partisanship–I understand. That’s why I regret to inform you of another case for your next angry post, and it involves Krugman. Krugman’s 2013 NYT piece The Excel Depression, which was about the Reinhart-Rogoff controversy, had this to say on R&Rs 90% threshold: “Correct these oddities and errors, and you get what other researchers have found: some correlation between high debt and slow growth, with no indication of which is causing which, but no sign at all of that 90 percent “threshold.”” Krugman then linked to this article to support his statement that other researchers had not found any sign of the 90% threshold.

    Except, if you read the article, it said just the opposite. Here’s a quote:

    “Many recent empirical papers sought to pin down and explain the possibly nonlinear negative relationship between public debt and growth. Most of these papers broadly confirm that the turning point beyond which economic growth slows down sharply is around 90% of GDP. Cecchetti et al. (2011) find a threshold of 86% of GDP for a panel of 18 OECD countries and for the period from 1980 to 2010. Padoan et al. (2012) report similar effects for a similar group of countries but a longer period (1960 to 2010). Covering a mix of advanced and emerging market economies, Kumar and Woo (2010) finds a turning point at 90% of GDP. Checherita and Rother (2010) and Baum et al. (2012) report similar results for a set of euro area countries. But Caner et al. (2010) and Elmeskov and Sutherland (2012) show that the tipping point is probably lower: 77% for a set of 77 countries, and 66% for a dozen of OECD countries, respectively”

    Outrageous, right? I assume your next post will be on this topic and that you will call for the NYT to sever its relationship with Krugman?

    Of course, you might be thinking: that’s just an honest mistake. Happens to the best of us. And you’d be right. But coming back to my suggestion for your New Year’s resolution, if you are willing to give the benefit of the doubt to Krugman, why not Moore? If your next post will not condemn Krugman in the same harsh language you have used for Moore, your next post should be to apologize to Moore.

    1. Menzie Chinn Post author

      Rick Stryker: Well, I’d say he overstated rather than lied. I think the evidence is shaky rather than nonexistent. You didn’t quote the part I took from the paper when I saw Balasz’s (2012) paper:

      We find some evidence in favour of a negative nonlinear relationship between debt and growth. But these results are very sensitive to the time dimension and country coverage considered, data frequency (annual data vs. multi-year averages) and assumptions on the minimum number of observations required in each nonlinear regime. We also show that nonlinear effects are likely to kick in at much lower levels of public debt (between 20% and 60% of GDP). These results, based on bivariate regressions on secular time series, are largely confirmed on a shorter dataset (1960-2010) when using a multivariate growth framework that accounts for traditional drivers of long-term economic growth and model uncertainty.

      That’s why I think the negative correlation is there, specific thresholds iffy.

      This seems confirmed by researchers at IMF’s FAD, as recounted in this 2014 IMF Working Paper:

      … Our results do not identify any clear debt threshold above which medium-term growth prospects are
      dramatically compromised. On the contrary, the association between debt and medium-term growth becomes rather weak at high levels of debt, especially when controlling for the average growth performance of country peers.

    2. pgl

      Krugman linked to a lot of research other than this paper by Balázs Égert. And it seems you have cherry picked a quote to claim Krugman misrepresented the paper. No – you are the one doing the misrepresentation here.

      1. baffling

        rick stryker cherry picked data in his discussion? rubbish. he is the most honest, direct conservative on the dark net. he would never do such a thing. how dare you question the integrity of such a hack.

      2. Rick Stryker


        No that’s completely false. In the article I cited, Krugman linked to that paper and that paper only to support his contention that the was “no sign at all of that 90 percent “threshold.” But the paper that he linked to contained quite a bit of evidence supporting Reinhart and Rogoff. Krugman completely misrepresented the situation to the readers of the NYT. I didn’t cherry pick a quote. That is the key quote because whether there was any evidence for the 90% threshold was the key claim under debate.

        I put this example up because I wanted to illustrate the hypocrisy, duplicity, and dishonesty of progressives. Of course, you’ll find a way not to apply the standard you apply to conservatives to Krugman. This attack on Moore has nothing to do with any concern about facts or honesty. It’s just politics. Progressives can’t defend their views with facts and logic so they attack, attempt to discredit, and try to silence people whose views they don’t want heard. Progressives watch conservatives closely for anything, any point they can attack, any mistake, anything to discredit them. It’s despicable really.

        Menzie has tried to silence and discredit me for years by falsely attributing to me views that I don’t have. His frustration with my remaining pseudonymous is great, since pseudonymity takes away a key weapon in the progressive arsenal, which is to shame and discredit opponents of more government. He expects that he’ll find I’m a community college professor, a low level govt employee, or a member of some think tank, retired in my pajamas, or something like that. He’s doing the same to Moore–trying to discredit him so completely that no one will listen to him. It’s not going to work though.

        1. Menzie Chinn Post author

          Rick Stryker: Actually, I don’t “expect” to find you a “community college professor, a low level govt employee, or a member of some think tank, retired in my pajamas, or something like that.” I actually have a pretty good idea of who you are, and I know you’ve published and are a faculty member at a public state university in the Midwest.

          I just find it pathetic that you do not have the courage of your convictions to associate yourself with your written views.

          1. Rick Stryker


            Well, whoever you think I am, what’s truly pathetic is that conservatives have to adopt pseudonyms to avoid the kinds of dishonest attacks that progressives such as yourself launch against them. Look what you are doing to Moore right now. And poor Ed Lazear. Besides, why is it news that I’m a faculty member at a midwestern university. I think I’ve already revealed that I’m a professor of free market economics at Wossamotta University. That’s near Frostbite Falls, MN. It’s -12F in Minnesota tonight. I understand that the latest research from the climate change alarmist scientists is that this frigid spell is actually caused by global warming. I’ll have to cover that in an upcoming class.

          2. Menzie Chinn Post author

            Rick Stryker: Gee, your earlier identification of state only indicated Moosylvania, rather than Minnesota. But isn’t it really in Michigan?

          3. baffling

            rick stryker, why would you adopt a pseudonym to attack menzie on his own blog site? if you are so confident that your views are superior and morally justified, why be anonymous while attaching somebody who has clearly identified themselves. its not like menzie is using a pseudonym to run this site.

            me thinks you use a pseudonym, because if the method of cherry picking you present on this site is associated with you professionally, you would immediately lose the respect of your peers. professional academics do not take kindly to the dishonest arguments you make on this site. for instance, advocating the use of lying to achieve ones goals in not smiled upon in the academy. but you knew that already. hence the pseudonym to attack menzie.

  9. joseph

    Rick Stryker’s shtick gets rather boring and repetitive. First he obsequiously makes feeble and nonsensical excuses for the bad behavior of his idols.

    And when the excuses fail he fires up his google and trawls the sewers of the alt-right to find some conspiracy which purports to show some Democrat or liberal doing the same thing. Favorite targets are Obama, Clinton and Krugman. All for naught, of course, because his supposed analogies always crumble under closer inspection. They aren’t the same at all.

    It’s as boring as it is predictable. It could be churned out by a markov chain bot. For all we know, that’s exactly what Stryker is.

  10. Majorajam

    I wonder what these numbers would look like now that the fracking boom went bye-bye. Let’s just insinuate that the relative outperformance of California in 2015 & 2016 was due to legalizing weed and beat them about the head with it. Better get on it though cuz WTI is drifting northward again

  11. pgl

    Stephen Moore has been at this for a long time. My favorite version was how he took a 35% corporate profits tax rate and a 38% personal income tax rate and summed the two – which of course is stupid beyond belief:

    ‘(1 – 35%)*(1 – 38%) = 0.65 * 0.62 = 0.397 = (1 -60.3%). A note to the editors of National Review: why not get some economics commentators who can calculate?’

    Even Brad’s then 9 year old daughter got the arithmetic right. But not Stephen Moore.

  12. Erik Poole

    PeakTrader wrote: “Lower taxes in the U.S. can make healthcare affordable again for the middle class.”

    There truly is a free lunch is there not Comrade PeakTrader? And you plan on doing this without going to a single payer model. I admire your ambition and in particular your imagination.

    In the meantime, your health care is the most expensive among the rich OECD countries and provides relatively poor outcomes.

    1. PeakTrader

      U.S. healthcare is the best in the world. We have the best hospitals, equipment, specialists, nurses, etc.. It’s not a healthcare problem, except we can maintain the highest quality much cheaper with much less government influence. When other explanatory variables are taken into account, which I cited before, Americans have one of the longest life expectancies and the highest quality of life in the world.

      1. PeakTrader

        It’s not only controlling those variables for apples to apples comparisons, the rest of the world benefits enormously from the U.S. healthcare industry.

        1. pgl

          I wonder what the world record is for most misrepresentations ever made. I think you just exceeded it. Stephen Moore – try harder to keep up.

      2. PeakTrader

        And, I suspect, after controlling for those variables I cited before, if Americans ate foods similar to the Japanese, and drug addicts were forcibly thrown into rehabilitation centers, like in Japan, Americans would have the longest life expectancy in the world.

        1. baffling

          don’t forget to exclude the black population. as you have stated in the past peak, eliminate them and the us life expectancy is great. i think peak is proposing a new final solution.

          1. PeakTrader

            Stating facts and explaining differences between races is obviously racist to you. Why do you allow government to collect this racist data?

          2. baffling

            actually peak trader, you have been pretty clear that eliminating the black population would lead to a better america. one that you prefer. in fact, if we could eliminate the poor as well, peak trader would consider it a utopia. you use the data to segregate and eliminate, rather than formulate a solution that would help the black and poor population. that is why i call you a racist and elitist.

          3. PeakTrader

            Baffling – Hitler would’ve been proud of the policies you support that destroyed the black population in this country. You’re the one with racist tendencies.

          4. PeakTrader

            What’s clear Baffling, is the way you shift blame after each of your destructive beliefs.

          5. baffling

            no peak trader, i believe you are the one who would like to remove the black population and improve our health care system. and your elitist comments appear rather frequently on this blog. if you don’t want to be called a racist or elitist, then don’t talk that way. even a phd junior should understand that concept.

      3. noneconomist

        PT: healthcare is quite good; access to healthcare is not. Otherwise, it would never take someone (me) six weeks from initial exam to receive a medical procedure as simple as cortisone injections.
        The same someone who is healthy with good insurance and previous connections with the orthopedic office.
        If limping around for six weeks while clerks determine your fate and wait time (and while their computers may or may not recognize each other’s messages with your knees swelling by the day),is your idea of the world’s best health care, we may require a new definition of “best.”

        1. PeakTrader

          Access to U.S. healthcare is excellent – top hospital emergency rooms, seen quickly, and admitted to hospital quickly, if needed – private rooms and bathrooms – you’ll receive the best care with staff, equipment, etc..

          You wouldn’t believe the horror story a friend went through in a Scottish hospital – from emergency room to being released after admitted to hospital – even the hospital building looked like it could’ve been in a horror movie.

          1. PeakTrader

            Also, I knew a U.S. doctor, who basically did volunteer work once a week. You could see him for $5. He’d give you an exam and recommended what you needed or gave you a prescription to solve any problem.

          2. noneconomist

            PT: “top hospital emergency rooms where you’re seen quickly..”
            Now I know you’re clueless.
            Certainly not one I visited with my mother where all seats were filled with the overflow sitting outside on walls, lawn, etc. Where a nurse said if I really wanted to see crazy I should visit the larger hospital where she worked weekends.
            I also know doctors and dentists who do volunteer work. God bless them, but they have little to do with overall access by large numbers to competent medical care.
            In my own world—not the make believe one you inhabit—my medical care has been first rate. Getting to it has not. And judging from my interactions with others who frequent the same places, I’m not alone.
            Oh, I won’t tell you about a friend who was once treated for an emergency in a hospital in France where he spent a few days.He couldn’t believe how good it was. So, France 1, Scotland 0.

          3. PeakTrader

            Noneconomist, in the San Francisco area, where it seems most are on Medicare, Medicaid, Medical, the emergency room in Alameda moves very quickly, although there are few patients. In Orange County hospitals, there is generally little waiting time. I’m sure, there are some crowded hospitals in the center of big cities, but there are many hospitals to choose from. Maybe, you should move to France.

          4. baffling

            “but there are many hospitals to choose from”
            you really do not choose a hospital when you have an emergency. you “choose” the closest emergency room. it is not really a free market operation.

          5. noneconomist

            PT: keep it up. You’ve removed all doubt about your cluelessness. To experience actual reality, you should move out of your cave and test the fantasies you cling to so preciously.
            BTW: the extended Bay Areea contains about 15% of California’s population and a highly educated 15% at that. The area is also a hotbed for medical professionals at the forefront of movements for universal health care/single payer plans. It’s “socialist” California where unemployment rates are comfortably under 3%
            . I’m fairly certain the access to medical care you mention is not the result of a doctor you know who is volunteering his time charging $5/visit.

  13. joseph

    What makes Rick Stryker even more ridiculous is that in his reflex Krugman attack he seems to have forgotten that his Dear Leader has just made the argument that the US needs $1.5 trillion in more debt to increase the growth rate.

    Rick — always running mindlessly in circles to defend The Cause.

    1. pgl

      But remember – Republican deficits, good, good. Democrat deficits, bad, bad.

      That is how the right wing trains its parrots.

      1. baffling

        but the parrots are now in trouble. who does the training? state tv faux news or alt right breitbart? now that breitbart seems to think trump is “dumb as s**t” and faux news still defends the president, what is a parrot to believe? although it does look as though bannon has retreated with his tail between his legs most recently…

  14. joseph

    Just to be absolutely clear, when dim-witted Rick Stryker is calling Paul Krugman a “liar” about the non-existence of a critical debt threshold, he is also calling his Dear Leader Trump, Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the entire Republican congressional caucus “liars”.

    But wait, to Stryker’s great relief, their “lies” are only temporary. Next month they will once again speak the “truth” about a critical debt threshold when they try to justify cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

    For conservatives like Stryker, “truth” is whatever is currently expedient for the desired goal.

    1. pgl

      The desired goal is called Starve the Beast. Which is basically solve the poverty problem by cutting off the basic needs of the poor and letting them starve.

    2. Rick Stryker


      See, that’s the distortion of the left I mentioned to PGL earlier. I never called Krugman a “liar.” In fact, I suggested that people make mistakes and Moore should get the same benefit of the doubt. I also didn’t call him a “liar” with respect to a non-existent critical threshold. What I did do was point out that Krugman cited a paper to claim that there was no academic evidence to back up the R&R claim but in fact that paper was filled with evidence supporting R&R.

      What I said is clearly true. Funny that you continue to lie in a post about lying.

      1. 2slugbaits

        Rick Stryker I suggested that people make mistakes and Moore should get the same benefit of the doubt.

        So now you’re agreeing that Moore did indeed make a (forgivable) mistake and your only gripe is that Menzie called it a lie? For months you argued that Moore didn’t make a mistake because the Treasury did borrow $1.05T. Now you can certainly argue that Moore made a careless mistake but doesn’t deserve to be called a liar. That’s a reasonable argument. Or you can argue that Moore wasn’t wrong at all and was talking about how much Treasury borrowed. But I don’t see how you can make both arguments and do so with a straight face.

        1. Rick Stryker


          If you look at my original comment, I said that it’s not a mistake to measure annual borrowing by the change in the public debt. However, I also said that for that particular year Moore was quoting it’s a misleadingly large number because of special factors. I’d agree with Menzie’s argument up to that point–that the number is misleadingly large–although as I’ve said I don’t think the actual magnitude matters for the point that Moore was trying to make on the Paris Accord. But I certainly don’t think what Moore did is evidence of incompetence or lying. That’s what I’m objecting to.

          1. baffling

            moore is a repeated, serial offender in these types of remarks. how many times should he be given a pass before we pass judgement on him for incompetence or deceit? same argument to be made for trump. how many times is he allowed to be wrong, or lie, before we can claim incompetence or deceit? my guess is you do not have a number.

          2. 2slugbaits

            Rick Stryker I realize that in your original comment you said that Moore’s comment was not a mistake. My point is that in your more recent comment you said that Moore should be given the benefit of the doubt for having made a mistake. Your exact words: I suggested that people make mistakes and Moore should get the same benefit of the doubt.

            I don’t think you can have it both ways. Either you think Moore made a mistake (and you would argue deserves the benefit of the doubt) or you can say that Moore didn’t make a mistake because he was referring to the amount borrowed rather than the budget deficit. You can make either one of those arguments, but not both. My point is that you are trying to maintain both arguments and that just doesn’t cut it.

  15. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “What I did do was point out that Krugman cited a paper to claim that there was no academic evidence to back up the R&R claim but in fact that paper was filled with evidence supporting R&R.”

    Did you even read the paper? You cherry-pick one paragraph to mislead the readers. But that paragraph is merely stating the issues. The conclusion of the paper is to refute the “evidence” of the paragraph you cited.

    But once again Stryker tries his usual ineffective one-two punch:
    1. First obsequiously make whatever nonsensical defense of his idol he can come up with,
    2. And when that fails, lash out at someone else saying they are just as bad. “But Paulie did it too!”

    He does this over and over. It’s very predictable.

    1. Rick Stryker


      You lie again. As I already pointed out, the paper did a literature review and cited 7 papers that supported Reinhart and Rogoff. The paper itself also supported Rogoff, finding that the threshold might actually be lower than 90%. This is the problem: progressives lie constantly. It’s policy for them. That’s why we can’t ever take their accusations of lying seriously.

  16. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “You lie again.”

    Rick Styryker: “No puppet. No puppet. You’re the puppet!”

  17. Rick Stryker


    In reply to your comment, don’t you use a pseudonym? Doesn’t just about every who comments use one on this blog?

    1. baffling

      i use a pseudonym, but not to attack the known authors of this blog. you like to challenge the integrity of menzie, but hide behind a pseudonym. i find it hypocritical for you to attack the integrity of menzie, but not provide him the opportunity to reply to you directly, only a shadow. you don’t see the lack of integrity in such an action? you want to maintain the advantage of the sniper, fine, but it is hypocritical.

      1. Rick Stryker

        My view is that only the facts and the quality of the argument matters, not the identity of the person giving the argument. I’m taking the temptation off the table to make the issue about the identity of the person making the argument. You need to refute my argument. You can’t deal with my arguments merely with ad hominem attacks, although that doesn’t stop you from trying.

        I don’t know who you are. I’m very, very confident that my qualifications to discuss these issues greatly exceeds yours. But I don’t care about qualifications. I will evaluate your arguments on the merits.

        1. baffling

          “I’m very, very confident that my qualifications to discuss these issues greatly exceeds yours.”
          there are some topics on this board where this is true. you have waded into other topics where this is not true.

          at any rate, the discussion is not between you and I. it is between you and menzie. and it is hypocritical of you to attack his integrity from the shadows.


          1. Rick Stryker

            I don’t think there have been any topics on this blog in which my qualifications have not been vastly superior to yours. You attack my integrity all the time. Why don’t you apply your own standards and reveal your identity rather than remaining in the shadows?

          2. baffling

            you sound like trump-the smartest man ever. and yet you are wrong so often it is truly baffling.

            you show me your name first, please. in the mean time, why don’t you show menzie who you really are, rather than hide in the shadows. he has not hidden anything from the world, and you still attack him from the shadows.


  18. Rick Stryker


    Not sure if I’ve ever been to Michigan. Seriously, there is no way you can know–you are just speculating. Just out of curiosity, what’s my field? I hope I have tenure.

  19. Rick Stryker


    I’m just making the argument I’ve already made. I don’t think it’s a mistake in a tv debate to measure the deficit by the amount that was actually borrowed over the previous fiscal year, since that’s how the general public understands that concept. For that year it was misleading large, but again I don’t see why this matters for the point that Moore was making. Menzie is focusing on definitions understood by economists, i.e., the technical definition of a budget deficit, and accusing Moore of lying and/or incompetence because he didn’t adhere to the definition that economists understand, even though the tv audience has no clue about these distinctions.

    If we contrast with Krugman, I don’t see how we can’t argue that he made a mistake and an egregious one at that. Reinhart and Rogoff’s reputations were on the line and he used his authority to assure the readers of the NY Times that there was no independent evidence backing up R&R, when in fact the paper that he linked to contained that evidence.

    It would be easy for conservatives to attack Krugman, accusing him of lying or incompetence, or both. But I think it’s obvious neither is true, If Krugman were trying to deceive, he would not have linked to the paper in the first place. And he’s obviously competent. What I think actually happened is that Krugman glanced at the abstract, misinterpreted the message, and then linked to the paper. That’s recklessly negligent given that people’s reputations were affected.

    My point in bringing up the Krugman case is not to draw a strict analogy that they both made mistakes. I think Krugman clearly made an egregious mistake. I don’t think Moore did unless you are also just assuming what you mean to prove, i.e., that’s he’s dishonest or incompetent. If you are willing to give Krugman the benefit of the doubt, as I am, why would you not do the same for Moore? Why make the worst assumptions about Moore’s behavior without any evidence?

    1. 2slugbaits

      Rick Stryker . If you are willing to give Krugman the benefit of the doubt, as I am, why would you not do the same for Moore?

      I didn’t say Moore was deliberately lying. I thought I was pretty clear that I thought Moore is just dumb. I believe my exact words were “plain old stupid.” And I don’t think ordinary people think of how much the Treasury borrowed for cash management purposes when they hear the term budget deficit. And when they do think about how much the Treasury borrows, they almost always think in terms of the public debt and not just the debt held by the public. Now those are two different measures of debt that Joe Schmoe is unlikely to understand. So if he meant to talk to ordinary folks, as you claim, and if he meant to express things in terms of how much was borrowed (as you claim), then he should have referred to the public debt. As you yourself pointed out, the “debt held by the public” is a narrow concept of debt that is used by professional economists and not our friend Joe Schmoe watching CNN.

      1. Rick Stryker


        No, not at all. When the average person hears about the budget deficit for a particular year, he think that’s how much the government had to borrow during that year. But that’s not really correct. The amount that the government has to borrow in any particular fiscal year is equal to the change in the amount of debt held by the public over that fiscal year.

        Change in debt held by the public = unified budget deficit(or surplus) + other factors

        where those other factors include 1) the change in Treasury cash operation balances; 2) net financing disbursements of the direct loan and guaranteed loan financing accounts; 3) net purchases of non-Federal securities by the National Railroad Retirement Investment Trust;and 4) net change in other financial assets and liabilities

        Factors 1) and 4) were particularly important in fiscal year 2016, implying that the government borrowed much more that year than implied by the official budget deficit figure.

        My point, to state it again, is that if you are trying to say how much the government borrowed in a particular year, the accurate answer is to quote the change in the debt held by the public, not the budget deficit. That’s what Menzie got wrong in his critique of Moore and what you are getting wrong now.

        Moore got this right, which is why it’s so ridiculous for Menzie to say that he’s incompetent or a liar or for you to say that “he’s plain old stupid.” In fact, Moore understands this issue much better than you do, since he quoted the right numbers. Moore is smarter than you are and smarter than Menzie is, at least on this issue.

    2. baffling

      rick, how does krugman have anything to do with the incompetence or deceit of moore. why move off the topic? the issue is how many times will you demand that we give a pass to moore, before you hold him accountable for not being truthful and honest? or is he another one you allow to lie in order to win the argument?

      1. Rick Stryker


        I am pointing out the double standard of the Left by raising the Krugman issue. Mistakes, lying, and deception are endemic among progressives. When you start criticizing yourselves with equal vigor, you might start to convince people like me that you really mean it. It was perfectly legitimate for Moore to quote the 1 trillion and he does not deserve all this invective. But I show you a case of a genuine egregious mistake on your side and you ignore it. As it stands now, I just see a bunch of hypocrites engaged in their usual dishonest politics

        1. baffling

          rick, i would be more impressed if you simply explained to me why you allow moore and trump to lie and be deceitful, without a word of condemnation. not one word. in fact, you actually extolled trumps ability to lie to achieve his goal. where is the integrity there? and yet you cried foul like a toddler over obamas statements about health coverage. you take the lead in double standards rick.


          1. Rick Stryker


            If you had been paying attention, you’d realize that I’ve been arguing that Moore did not lie. Regarding Trump, I don’t accept your characterization. I believe that Trump is the most honest politician we’ve seen or probably will see in our lifetime.

          2. baffling

            actually rick, you have simply been putting modified wording into moores mouth and then claiming he did not lie. as for trump, i find it fascinating on one hand you claim he is honest abe, and in the past you defended his lies because it allowed him to achieve his goals. so which is it? honest trump or lying trump?


  20. joseph

    Rick Stryker: “I believe that Trump is the most honest politician we’ve seen or probably will see in our lifetime.”

    Okie dokie. I guess that just about sums up all we need to know about Rick Stryker — forever.

  21. baffling

    rick stryker believes trump is the most honest politician. question for rick. trump has been accused of a number of instances of sexual harassment at minimum, and sexual assault at worst. the women have been public in their accusations. trump has denied their accusations and attacked their integrity. rick, do you believe trump has never committed sexual harassment or sexual assault?

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