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Monday, January 21, 2008

Awesome Honesty

Just look at the first figure in Paul Krugman's post on Reaganomics

He claims that Reagan's performance on unemployment was not so good. In the figure he starts in the middle of a pre-Reagan recession and ends just before the economy took off. I'm not sure the figure could have been cropped in a way more favorable to Reagan or less convenient for* Krugman.

Now that is honesty.

*mindo corrected. I wrote "of" for "for" for some reason. I am not being at all sarcastic. I really am impressed by Krugman's extraordinary honesty. A time series whcih started earlier and ended later would not have been dishonest and would make Reagan look much worse.


tyronen said...

Um...the graph runs from 1976 to 1993 - exactly five years before and after Reagan took office. It also shows that the recession took place in 1982-83, which is not "pre-Reagan".

Are you claiming the economy's takeoff after 1993 is due to an administration that had ended five years before? As opposed to, maybe, the president who was *actually in office* in 1993? Who's being dishonest here?

Robert said...

I think the comment above shows how informally written text is confusing (it didn't help that the second to last word is "of" not "for" as it should be). tyronen read my post as if the tone were sarcastic. It wasn't. Such high praise for mere honesty reveals cynicism, but I meant exactly what I said.

The recession at the beginning of the graph is the tail end of the first Oil shock recession. Output had troughed but unemployment remained high. Of course I don't give Reagan credit for the wonderful things that happened after Clinton congressional Democrats and 0 (zero) Republicans reversed Reagan's tax cuts for the rich policy. I praised Krugman for leaving them out so as to be much more than fair to Reagan.